WORLD Trump ups ante in war of words

Townsville Bulletin - - WORLD -

NOT back­ing down, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump warned Kim Jong- un’s govern­ment yes­ter­day to “get their act to­gether” or face ex­tra­or­di­nary trou­ble, and sug­gested he had been too mild when he vowed to un­leash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it con­tin­ued to threaten the US.

“Maybe that state­ment wasn’t tough enough,” Mr Trump said, in the lat­est US 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 un­set­tlingly speci­ficity, there was no ob­serv­able march to­ward com­bat, de­spite the angry rhetoric from both sides.

But Mr Trump in­sisted if North Korea took any steps to at­tack Guam, Py­ongyang’s lead­ers would have rea­son to be ner­vous.

“Things will hap­pen to them like they never thought pos­si­ble, OK?” Mr Trump said. He did not spec­ify what they might be.

Still, the stage is set for new con­fronta­tion soon. US and South Korean mil­i­tary of­fi­cials plan to move ahead with largescale ex­er­cises later this month that North Korea claims are a re­hearsal for war.

The ex­er­cises are an an­nual event, but come as Py­ongyang says it is ready­ing a plan to fire off four “Hwa­song- 12” mis­siles to­ward the US is­land ter­ri­tory and major mil­i­tary hub. The plan would be sent to leader Kim Jong- un for ap­proval just be­fore or as the US- South Korea ex­er­cises be­gin.

Called Ulchi- Free­dom Guardian, the ex­er­cises are ex­pected to run from Au­gust 21- 31 and in­volve tens of thou­sands of Amer­i­can and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air.

The ex­er­cises were sched­uled well be­fore ten­sions be­gan to rise over Mr Trump’s in­creas­ingly fiery rhetoric and North Korea’s an­nounce­ment of the mis­sile plan, which would be its most provoca­tive launch yet.

Mr Trump de­clined to say whether the US 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,” Mr Trump said.

Ac­cus­ing his pre­de­ces­sors of in­suf­fi­cient ac­tion, Mr Trump said it was time some­body stood up to the pariah na­tion.

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