FIRED UP!

Trump threat­ens North Korea with ‘fire and fury’

Ottawa Sun - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN DEYOUNG and JOHN WAGNER

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump used his harsh­est lan­guage yet to warn North Korea Tues­day that it will be “met with fire and fury, and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen be­fore,” if it does not stop threat­en­ing the United States.

“North Korea best not make any more threats,” Trump told re­porters at his Bed­min­ster, N.J., golf club, where he is va­ca­tion­ing.

Say­ing that the threats had gone “be­yond a nor­mal state,” he twice re­peated the “fire and fury” warn­ing.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear what Trump was re­spond­ing to.

A North Korean mil­i­tary spokesman said Tues­day Py­ongyang was con­sid­er­ing a plan to fire mis­siles at Guam and that it would carry out a pre-emp­tive strike if there were any signs of U.S. provo­ca­tion, Reuters re­ported, quot­ing state me­dia.

Ear­lier in the day, North Korea said it would “ruth­lessly take strate­gic mea­sures in­volv­ing phys­i­cal ac­tions,” in the wake of new eco­nomic sanc­tions ap­proved Satur­day by the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

On Mon­day, Py­ongyang threat­ened re­tal­i­a­tion against the U.S. “thou­sands of times.”

Trump’s state­ment also fol­lowed a re­port in The Post that North Korea has suc­cess­fully pro­duced a minia­tur­ized nu­clear war­head that can fit in­side its bal­lis­tic mis­siles, cross­ing a key thresh­old on the path to be­com­ing a full-fledged nu­clear power.

The re­port quoted a con­fi­den­tial as­sess­ment by U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials.

The unan­i­mous UN sanc­tions vote, ban­ning key North Korean ex­ports, came af­ter two tests last month of lon­grange mis­siles ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the U.S.

Trump’s com­ments drew crit­i­cism from se­nior law­mak­ers.

“The great lead­ers I’ve seen don’t threaten un­less they’re ready to act, and I’m not sure Pres­i­dent Trump is ready to act,” Sen. John McCain told a Phoenix ra­dio sta­tion.

Demo­cratic Sen. Ben­jamin Cardin said the re­marks were “not help­ful and once again show that he lacks the tem­per­a­ment

“They will be met with the fire and fury, and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen be­fore.” Don­ald Trump

and judg­ment” to deal with a se­ri­ous cri­sis. “We should not be en­gag­ing in the same kind of blus­tery and provoca­tive state­ments as North Korea about nu­clear war.” The es­ca­lated rhetoric and talk of war came as the ad­min­is­tra­tion is try­ing to push North Korea to­ward di­rect talks that, de­spite its ear­lier pushes for such a di­a­logue, Py­ongyang now shows no sign of want­ing.

“The strat­egy has been pretty clear,” said a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, “to in­crease eco­nomic pres­sure and di­plo­matic iso­la­tion, with the goal of get­ting the North Kore­ans to come to their senses and be­gin re­duc­ing the threat, so that we can have a mean­ing­ful di­a­logue.

“Right now, there is noth­ing that North Korea is do­ing that sug­gests to us that they are will­ing to have a se­ri­ous di­a­logue with us,” the of­fi­cial said.

Even if Py­ongyang ex­pressed in­ter­est, the ad­min­is­tra­tion has been in­ten­tion­ally am­bigu­ous about what it would con­sider a suf­fi­cient change by North Korea.

In com­ments at a week­end se­cu­rity con­fer­ence in Manila, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said that, at a min­i­mum, North Korea must stop its bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests.

“That would be the first and strong­est sig­nal,” Tiller­son said. “We have not had ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time where they were not tak­ing some type of provoca­tive ac­tion by launch­ing bal­lis­tic mis­siles.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has made clear that it is no longer ad­her­ing to the pol­icy of pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions re­quir­ing North Korea to com­mit to giv­ing up its nu­clear weapons be­fore talks can be­gin.

While de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula is the ul­ti­mate goal, it is no longer a U.S. pre­req­ui­site for talks.

Re­peat­ing com­ments he made in the spring, Tiller­son last week said the U.S. is not seek­ing regime change in North Korea.

If Tiller­son’s re­marks were the car­rot, Trump’s are clearly the stick.

TORONTO SUN PHOTO IL­LUS­TRA­TION

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