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Military solutions 'locked and loaded' against North Korea threat: Trump

Saturday, 12 August 2017 11:43
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Washington, August 11: US President Donald Trump issued another warning to North Korea on Friday with a reference to American weapons as being "locked and loaded."

"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" Trump wrote on Twitter, a day after his defense secretary said the United States was ready to counter any threat from Pyongyang.

Trump had warned North Korea on Thursday not to strike Guam or U.S. allies, saying his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough.

After North Korea disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, Trump said the move would prompt "an event the likes of which nobody`s seen before."

He took specific aim at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying he had "disrespected our country greatly. He has said things that are horrific. And with me, he`s not getting away with it," Trump told reporters in New Jersey.

"It`s not a dare. It`s a statement," Trump said. "He`s not going to go around threatening Guam. And he`s not going to threaten the United States. And he`s not going to threaten Japan. And he`s not going to threaten South Korea."

North Korea`s army will complete the plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near Guam, when they will be ready for Kim`s order, state-run KCNA news agency said. The plans called for the missiles to land in the sea 30-40 km (18-25 miles) from Guam.

"Let`s see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody`s seen before, what will happen in North Korea," Trump said, without offering specifics.

Shortly after Trump spoke, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters in Mountain View, California, the United States still preferred a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat and a war would be "catastrophic."

Asked if the United States was ready if North Korea took a hostile act, he said: "We are ready."

Tension in the region has risen since the reclusive communist country, which staged two nuclear bomb tests last year, launched two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July in defiance of world powers. Trump has said he will not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

Far from toning down his words after saying on Tuesday that any threats by Pyongyang would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump said those remarks may have not gone far enough. "Maybe it wasn`t tough enough," Trump said.

Trump`s Tuesday comments unnerved allies in the region and drew criticism from some politicians and foreign policy experts at home as needlessly pugnacious at a time when more measured language would be appropriate.

On Thursday in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is on a working vacation, Trump also declared the U.S. nuclear arsenal "in tip-top shape, and getting better, and getting stronger." 

Asked if he would consider a pre-emptive strike against North Korea to deny it the ability to launch a nuclear attack against the United States, Trump said, "We`ll see what happens."

The United States and South Korea remain technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Trump also said new sanctions on North Korea approved by the U.N. Security Council on Aug. 5 that could slash by a third the country`s $3 billion annual export revenue probably would not be as effective as hoped. (Agencies)

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