Trump demands North Korea ‘get their act together’
President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Thursday, demanding that Kim Jong Un’s government “get their act together’’ or face extraordinary trouble. He said his previous “fire and fury’’ warning to Pyongyang might have been too mild.
“Maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,’’ Trump said in the latest round of an escalating exchange of threats between the two nucleararmed nations.
Speaking to reporters in New Jersey, Trump said North Korea has been “getting away with a tragedy that can’t be allowed.’’ Still, he declined to say whether the U.S. is considering a preemptive military strike, arguing that his administration never discusses such deliberations publicly.
Trump spoke after North Korea intensified its own rhetoric by announcing a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. That announcement had been a response to Trump’s threat that the North would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen’’ if it threatened the U.S. again.
On Thursday, Trump said it is time somebody stood up to the pariah nation.
“North Korea better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble,’’ Trump said, flanked by VicePresident Mike Pence. “It may very well be tougher than I said.’’
Trump spoke after meeting with national security advisers at the golf resort where he’s vacationing. He said the U.S. “of course’’ would always consider negotiations with North Korea, but added that talks with the North have failed for the last 25 years. He said that China, the North’s biggest trading partner, needs to do more to apply pressure — and predicted that it will.
The threatened attack near Guam, if carried out, would be the North’s most provocative missile launch to date. The North said it is finalizing a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny island, which hosts 7,000 U.S. military personnel on two main bases and has a population of 160,000.
Japan and South Korea vowed a strong reaction if the North were to go through with the plan. Trump added his voice on Thursday, insisting that if North Korea took any steps to even think about an attack, it would have reason to be nervous.
“Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?’’ Trump said. Of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump added: “He’s been pushing the world around for a long time.’’
North Korea said the plan, which involves the missiles hitting waters 30 to 40 kilometres (19 to 25 miles) from the island, could be sent to leader Kim for approval within a week or so. It would be up to Kim whether the move is actually carried out. But the extreme specificity of the plan suggested it was designed to show North Korea is actually plotting a launch.
A man watches a television screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday.