The US and North Korea appear to be on a sure collision course.
President Donald Trump and North Korea traded escalating threats of “fire,” with the North saying it was examining plans for attacking Guam.
President Donald Trump stressed the US’ nuclear capabilities, saying on Twitter that “there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”
“Hopefully we will never have to use this power,” he added.
On Twitter Wednesday, Trump said he had pushed to “renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal.” He then added: “Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a sharp threat to North Korea, saying the regime should cease any consideration of actions that would “lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
Mattis said any action by North Korea would be grossly overmatched by the US, and that Pyongyang would lose any arms race or conflict it started. He says that while the US is pursuing diplomatic solutions, the combined military power of America and its allies is the most robust on Earth.
Mattis’ comments punctuate Trump’s warning that North Korea will be met with “fire and fury” if it threatens the US.
A new report released by the Pentagon earlier this week says Pyongyang’s nuclear program is progressing.
The US’ ‘Frantic Moves’
North Korea’s military responded to Trump’s warning of “fire and fury” calling it a “load of nonsense.”
The North stated that “only absolute force” can work on someone as “bereft of reason” as Trump.
The North Korean statement also said that the military action its army “is about to take” will be effective for restraining America’s “frantic moves” in and near the southern part of the Korean Peninsula.
According to the statement, North Korea will complete a plan by mid-August for the “historic enveloping fire at Guam,” convey it to the commander in chief of its nuclear force and then “wait for his order.” North Korea says it will “keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the US.”
A World War?
Japan says it could shoot down missiles for its US ally if North Korea fires them at Guam.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told Thursday’s parliamentary session that a missile attack on the US territory would breach the US deterrence against an attack on Japan. He said that would be a Japanese national emergency because it would threaten Japan’s existence as a nation.
He said Japan in that case can exercise the right to “collective” self-defense and activate the Aegis destroyer ship-to-air missile defense system.
Onodera’s comment underscores Japan’s growing military role and reverses its previous position that it can only shoot down missiles headed to Japan.
A defense law that took effect last year allows Japan’s military to defend US and other allies when they come under enemy attack.
South Korea’s military said North Korea will face a “stern and strong” response from Washington and Seoul if it acts on threats to fire missiles near Guam.
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said Thursday that the US and South Korean militaries are prepared to “immediately and sternly punish” any kind of provocation by North Korea, but didn’t elaborate on how the allies are preparing.
South Korea’s presidential office said top national security adviser Chung Eui-yong will chair a national security council meeting in the afternoon to discuss the North Korean threats.