President Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that his earlier warning to North Korea that it would be “met with fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the U.S. “wasn’t tough enough,” and he cautioned North Korean officials to “get their act together” regarding its nuclear ambitions.
Before reporters at his New Jersey golf club, Trump addressed the United States’ rising tensions with North Korea and doubled down on his Tuesday threat to the nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un, saying the country would be in trouble “like few nations have ever been.”
“Things will happen to them that they never thought possible,” said Trump.
The past week has found the two countries engaging in increasingly hostile rhetoric. In a statement released through North Korea’s state-run news service Wednesday, the country’s military said it was developing a plan to fire missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam.
Trump’s “fire and fury” remark on Tuesday followed reports that North Korea produced a nuclear weapon small enough to fit inside a missile.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis made his first on-camera remarks Thursday about North Korea’s threats to attack Guam with ICBMs, saying that a potential nuclear incident “would be catastrophic.”
While speaking to reporters at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental(DIUx) event in Mountain View, California, he was asked by a reporter, “Can you talk about the human toll we might see in the event of a nuclear confrontation?”
“My portfolio, my mission, my responsibility is to have military options if you need it,” Mattis responded. “However, right now, Secretary Tillerson, Ambassador Haley, you can see the American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results. And I want to stay right there right now. The tragedy of war is well enough known. It does not need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic.”
Meanwhile on Thursday North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that the country will devise a plan by mid-August to fire four intermediate range missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam.
Korean Central News Agency said the plan is “to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the United States.”
The North Korean military will present the plan to Kim Jong Un, who will then decide whether to proceed, the news agency reported.
“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures of Japan,” the report said, citing North Korean Gen. Kim Rak Gyom, the commander of the military’s Strategic Rocket Forces. “They will fly 3,356.7 km [2,085.8 miles] for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam.”