The US is prepared to strike North Korea if necessary with “devastating” consequences for the country, President Donald Trump has warned, vowing to fix the North Korean “mess” which he said should have been taken care of decades ago.
“We are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option. But if we take that option, it will be devastating for North Korea. That is called the military option. If we have to take it, we will,” Trump said in Washington during a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Emphasizing that the US is not the one to blame for the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Trump accused his Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un of “acting very badly,” and “saying things that should never, ever be said.”
“And we’re replying to those things, but it is a reply. It is not an original statement, it is a reply,” Trump stressed.
The US State Department also seems to believe that “answering” North Korea with increased and amplified warmongering rhetoric is an example of effective diplomacy and communication.
“The president is an effective communicator. I think people know exactly where he stands. We have had a good deal of success in pushing forward with our diplomacy campaign,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, dodging questions on whether Trump’s blunt tweeted statements could be damaging to US foreign policy.
Trump noted that previous US administrations failed to restrain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, which could have been “handled 25 years ago… much more easily.”
“The various administration left me a mess. But I’ll fix the mess. So we’ll see what happens with North Korea,” Trump vowed, speaking on the lawns of the White House.
Mutually militant rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang has been bordering on an all-out war for months, as the North Korean regime continues to test and perfect its nuclear striking capabilities.
Washington should switch from threats to dialogue on North Korea – Chinese envoy to US
The US, has for some time, been contemplating using its military capabilities to “destroy” North Korea. On Tuesday Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford told Congress Washington should assume that North Korea already has the capability to attack the US with a nuclear weapon and plan accordingly.
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While Moscow and Beijing have been urging the US and N. Korea to avoid escalating tensions and pursue diplomacy, Washington has been quick to reject the Sino-Russian “double freeze” initiative, which urges the United States to cease its drills with South Korea in exchange for the North suspending its nuclear weapons programs.
Instead, Washington and Pyongyang continue on a collision course. On Monday, North Korea was emphatic that it will defend itself from any US aggression or that from its regional allies after Trump tweeted over the weekend that the North Korean leader “won’t be around much longer.”
Trump’s tweet, came during Saturday’s flyover of US B-1B bombers just off North Korea’s eastern coast, and after his epic speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) where he vowed to “totally destroy” the North.
Following Trump’s UNGA speech, North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, told reporters in New York that Kim could be next planning to carry out a hydrogen bomb test of an “unprecedented level” over the Pacific Ocean.
On Monday, summing up Trump’s statements, Ri said the US president has effectively announced a “declaration of war” against North Korea.
“As long as the US has declared war, from now on, even if US strategic bombers don’t fly into our airspace, we will hold all the rights to self-defense, including the right to shoot them down at a time of our discretion. We will see then who lasts longer,” he warned.
While the White House rushed to deny it had “declared war on North Korea,” the Pentagon urged the leadership in Pyongyang to “stop their provocative actions,” promising to put forward all possible military options for Trump to consider.
North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test early this month. In recent weeks, it also launched a series of ballistic missiles, two of which flew over Japan. In wake of the latest nuclear test, the UN Security Council went on to introduce new sanctions on Kim’s regime.
The new economic restrictions, amongst other measures, prohibit the sale of natural gas to the North and limits the amount of crude and refined oil that can be sold to the country. Last week, the White House unilaterally announced a new, extended travel ban that will restrict travel to the US from North Korea.