Trump Threatens North Korea with ‘Trouble,’ Escalating Tensions
The US President insisted the North Korea had been “getting away with a
tragedy that can’t be allowed.”
Not backing down, President Donald Trump warned Kim Jong Un’s North Korean Government on Thursday to “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea was too mild.
“Maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” Donald Trump said, in the latest U.S. salvo in an escalating exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations.
A day after North Korea laid out plans to strike near Guam with unsettling specificity, there was no observable march toward combat, despite the angry
rhetoric from both sides. U.S. officials said there was no major movement of U.S. military assets to the region, nor were there signs Pyongyang was actively preparing for war.
President Trump declined to say whether the U.S. is considering a
pre-emptive military strike as he spoke to reporters before a briefing with
his top national security advisers at his New Jersey golf resort.
The President insisted the North had been “getting away with a tragedy that
can’t be allowed.”
“North Korea better get their act together, or they are going to be in
trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble,” Donald Trump said,
flanked by Vice President Mike Pence. Accusing his predecessors of
insufficient action, Trump said it was time somebody stood up to the pariah
Though tensions have been building for months amid new missile tests by the North, the pace has intensified since the U.N. Security Council on Saturday passed sweeping new sanctions Trump had requested. The sanctions prompted the newly heated volley of rhetoric. Detailed Plan of Attack by the North Korea:
In the latest move by North Korea, its military announced a detailed plan to fire four Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny U.S. territory of Guam, home to two U.S. bases and 160,000 people.
North Korea said its military would finalize the plan by mid-August, and then wait for Kim-Jong-Un’s order. The U.S. Allies Japan and South Korea quickly vowed a strong reaction if the North Korea were to follow through.
President Trump echoed that threat on Thursday, insisting if North Korea took any steps to attack Guam, its leaders would have reason to be nervous.
“Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?” President Trump said. He did not specify what they might be.
The Military analysts said it was unusual for Pyongyang to give such a precise target for a military action. Still, there were no signs that North Korea was seriously mobilizing its population for war, such as by pulling workers from the factories or putting the army on formal alert.
“There’s a lot of theater to this whole thing,” said Bob Carlin, former Northeast Asia chief for the State Department’s intelligence arm.
Similarly, the U.S. military gave no indications it perceived a seriously escalating threat from North Korea, such as moving to evacuate American personnel or their families from Guam, where there are 7,000 U.S. troops, or South Korea, where there are 28,000 South Korean troops.
President Trump said he would soon announce a request for a budget increase of “billions of dollars” for Anti-Missile Systems.
But as it is, the U.S. has a robust military presence in the region, including six B-1 bombers in Guam and Air Force fighter jet units in South Korea, plus other assets across the Pacific Ocean and in the skies above. Washington’s vast military options range from nothing to a full-on conventional assault by air, sea and ground forces. Any order by the president could be executed quickly.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that while it is his responsibility to have military options, the U.S. effort is focused on diplomacy and the Trump administration is working with its allies on a diplomatic solution.
To that end, President Trump said he “of course” would always consider negotiations with North Korea, but added that talks have failed for the last 25 years. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Asia this week, said North Korea could signal it was ready for such talks by halting any missile tests for an extended period.