President Donald Trump issued an intense warning to North Korea on Tuesday, saying it “best not make any more threats to the United States” or it would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” according to press pool reports.
Trump’s fiery statement followed a Washington Post report that said US intelligence had acknowledged that North Korea could make nuclear warheads small enough to fit on missiles and that the country may have as many as 60 nuclear devices.
“He has been very threatening beyond a normal state,” Trump said of Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, while looking straight into the camera. “As I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
After the UN Security Council voted to impose hefty sanctions on North Korea following its test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korean media responded with a harsh threat, saying the country would exact “thousands-fold” revenge on the US.
The Trump administration has stressed that it doesn’t seek regime change in North Korea, but not every voice appears to be on the same page.
Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, told MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt that Trump had been clear that “he’s not going to tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States.”
In June, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told the House Appropriations Committee that war with North Korea would be “more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we’ve seen since 1953,” when the Korean War ended, and result in “the massive shelling of an ally’s capital, which is one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”
The US has long made clear that it would retaliate against North Korean aggression with appropriate force. But Trump’s statement differs from those of past presidents’ by appearing to extend that to North Korean media issuing threats.
North Korea threatens severe retaliation for virtually every US diplomatic, logistic, and military move that offends the country.