President Donald Trump has issued a new threat to North Korea, saying the United States military is “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accuses him of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.
The Pentagon says the US and South Korea would proceed as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, which is sure to further antagonise North Korea.
Meanwhile, Russia, China and Germany have voiced dismay at the escalating rhetoric from Pyongyang and Washington.
Trump, holidaying at his New Jersey golf resort, kept up the war of words and again referenced North Korea’s leader in his latest bellicose remarks toward Pyongyang this week.
“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” he tweeted. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”
The tweet by the Republican president came shortly after the North Korean State news agency KCNA put out a statement blaming him for the boiling tensions.
“Trump is driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war, making such outcries as ‘the US will not rule out a war against the
DPRK (North Korea)’,” KCNA said.
Guam, the US territory in the Pacific, posted emergency guidelines to help residents prepare for any potential nuclear attack after a threat from North Korea to fire missiles in its vicinity.
“Do not look at the flash or fireball It can blind you,” the guidelines state.
“Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.”
KCNA said the North Korean army would complete plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land in the sea 30 to 40km from Guam.
Trump retweeted a message from the US military command in the Pacific saying American B-1B Lancer bombers on Guam “stand ready” if called upon for use in the crisis.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was set to meet with Trump and US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in Bedminster.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged Pyongyang and Washington to sign up to a previously unveiled joint Russian-Chinese plan under which North Korea would freeze missile tests and the US and South Korea would impose a moratorium on large-scale military exercises.
Lavrov said the risks of a military conflict over North Korea’s nuclear program are very high and Moscow is deeply worried by the
threats from Washington and Pyongyang.
“Unfortunately, the rhetoric in Washington and Pyongyang is now starting to go over the top,” Lavrov said on live State television at a forum for Russian students.
“We still hope and believe that common sense will prevail.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is no military solution to the dispute, adding that “an escalation of the rhetoric is the wrong answer”. AP