Trump de­mands North Korea ‘get their act to­gether’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

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.

AP PHOTO

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.

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