News ID: 198405
Published: 0301 GMT August 11, 2017

Trump: US military 'locked and loaded' on North Korea

Trump: US military 'locked and loaded' on North Korea

US President Donald Trump on Friday once again upped the ante in his war of words with North Korea, warning that the American military is "locked and loaded" in the event of a misstep by Pyongyang.

Ignoring appeals from China for restraint, Trump launched another rhetorical salvo at the North to keep its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in check, AFP reported.

The latest Twitter threat from the Republican billionaire leader, who took office in January, came as concerns swelled worldwide that a miscalculation by either side could trigger a catastrophic conflict on the Korean peninsula.

"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 from his golf club retreat in New Jersey, where he is spending two weeks.

Earlier Friday, China – Pyongyang's main diplomatic ally – urged Trump and Kim to tone down the saber-rattling. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on both sides to avoid "going down the old path of alternately showing strength and continuously escalating the situation."

"We call on the relevant parties to be cautious with their words and actions, and contribute more toward easing tensions and enhancing mutual trust," Geng said in a statement.

Beijing has repeatedly called for a resumption of long-dormant six-party talks to peacefully resolve the mounting tensions, but its position has been overshadowed by the emerging game of brinkmanship between Trump and Kim.

China's proposal for North Korea to suspend its weapons programs in exchange for a suspension of military drills by the United States and South Korea – seen by Pyongyang as provocative – has essentially been ignored.

Trump has progressively ramped up the tone throughout the week – after brandishing a threat of unleashing "fire and fury" on North Korea, he said Thursday maybe that statement "wasn't tough enough."

He also warned Pyongyang it should be "very, very nervous" of the consequences if it even thinks of attacking US soil, after Kim's government said it was readying plans to launch missiles toward the US Pacific territory of Guam.

Also on Thursday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appeared to step back from his boss's dire rhetoric, describing the prospect of war as "catastrophic" and saying diplomatic efforts to solve the North Korea nuclear crisis were working.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined an intensifying chorus of calls for restraint, saying diplomacy was the answer.

Nearly a week ago, the UN Security Council unanimously passed fresh sanctions against Pyongyang over its weapons program, including export bans, a new measure that could cost North Korea $1 billion a year.


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