President Donald Trump threatened North Korea “with fire and fury like the world has never seen” on Tuesday after suggestions the communist country has mastered one of the final hurdles to being able to strike the United States with a nuclear missile. This comes days after the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to pass more sanctions on the country, after North Korea recently conducted two missile tests.
North Korea said it was examining its operational plans for attacking Guam — a U.S. territory about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) away — in order to contain U.S. military activity there. The North Korean army said in a statement distributed Wednesday by the state-run news agency that it is studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles. Guam is home to Andersen Air Force Base.
The competing threats escalated tensions between the foes even further.
Although it wasn’t clear if Trump and the Koreans were responding directly to each other, the heightened rhetoric added to the potential for a miscalculation that might bring the nuclear-armed nations into conflict.
Trump’s stern words to the camera at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, came hours after reports indicating North Korea can now wed nuclear warheads with its missiles, including those that may be able to hit the American mainland.
“North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States,” said a stern-looking Trump, seated with his arms crossed and with his wife beside him. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
“He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
The remarks appeared scripted, with Trump glancing at a paper in front of him. They evoked President Harry Truman’s announcement of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, in which he warned of “a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”
But it wasn’t clear what Trump, who is prone to hyperbole and bombast in far less grave situations, meant by the threat. White House officials did not elaborate.
Pennington reported from Washington. Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.