U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said North Korea would be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to threaten the United States.
Speaking at his New Jersey golf club while on a working vacation, the President issued one his sternest warnings yet that the U.S. would not tolerate the North’s continued weapons development.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump told assembled reporters. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
“(Kim Jong Un) has been very threatening… and I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
The U.S. president’s remarks follow a Washington Post report which claimed North Korea is making missile ready nuclear weapons.
“Over the last few months, the narrative around the North Korea problem in American policy circles has taken a dramatically dark turn,” Ken Gause, a North Korea leadership specialist at the CNA Corporation, told NK News.
“In this toxic atmosphere, facing a North Korea that is getting closer to developing a nuclear capability that can strike the U.S., some voices have begun to call for regime change and are even toying with the idea of a military option.”
But Trump’s inflammatory comments are also the latest in a series of apparent mixed messages from senior U.S. government figures.
The country’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently struck a softer tone on North Korea, saying last week that the U.S. was not interested in regime change, invasion or accelerated reunification.
Tillerson followed up on these comments at the ASEAN Security Forum in the Philippines on Monday, by signaling Washington would be willing to negotiate with North Korea should it stop testing missiles.
In July, North Korea successfully tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which could potentially have the range to hit several cities on the U.S. mainland.
The missile tests led Washington to propose a new resolution at the UN, which was approved by the Security Council on Saturday.
If implemented correctly, Resolution 2371 could cut $1 billion from the North’s trade revenues – around a third of the value of the North’s total outgoing trade each year.
Despite the new restrictions, the DPRK has claimed numerous times it will not negotiate away its nuclear weapons under any circumstances, and that the U.S. should withdraw its “hostile policy” against North Korea.
Also speaking at the ASEAN security forum in the Phillippines on Monday evening, North Korea’s foreign minister said the DPRK was a legitimate nuclear power.
“We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on negotiating table,” Ri Yong Ho said adding that North Korea was “a responsible nuclear power and ICBM state.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham