Donald Trump tweeted that his first order as president was to renovate and modernize the American nuclear arsenal, which is now stronger “than ever before,” adding that Washington will never allow any nation to surpass US power.
Trump also said that he hopes the US will never have to use its nuclear weapons.
The remarks follow recent verbal sparring between Washington and Pyongyang. Earlier, Trump warned North Korea that any threat to the US would be repelled with brutal force.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said on Tuesday in widely televised broadcast.
Hours later, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency delivered the threat of launching a missile strike on the US Pacific island of Guam, warning Washington not to go too far in its aggressive stance.
In the message, a North Korean military spokesman described the recent flypast by US strategic bombers near the Korean Peninsula as an “actual nuclear drill” that is “driving the regional situation to an extreme pitch.”
The North Korean military is “carefully examining the operation plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range ballistic rocket Hwasong-12,” the spokesman added.
The US mainland is not protected against retaliatory strikes, the North Korean military said, urging the US to immediately halt “reckless military provocations” against Pyongyang. Otherwise, it said, North Korea will make “an unavoidable military choice.”
On Tuesday, the US Pacific Air Forces [PACAF] said that two B-1B bombers “joined their counterpart from the Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces” for a 10-hour flight mission the previous day. The supersonic bombers took off from an airbase in Guam.
In an apparent attempt to calm rising tensions, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that there was no “imminent threat” from North Korea, adding that “Americans should sleep well at night,” AP reported.
Trump is sending “the wrong message” with his bellicose rhetoric, according to Victor Gao, international affairs expert and director of China National Association of International Studies.
“You cannot have the US President warmongering against the DPRK [North Korea] whereas Secretary of State Tillerson is calling it not an enemy of the United States,” Gao told RT.
It is time for the US to join the international community and seek a political solution to the Korean nuclear issue, he said.
“Launching a war against the DPRK would be a disaster, both for [North Korea] and eventually for the United States… people in this region cannot afford another catastrophe in the form of total war in the peninsula,” Gao said, urging the president to stop calling for coercive actions.