Donald Trump has said military solutions over the North Korea crisis are “locked and loaded” the third time in a week he has issued a provocative warning against the isolated Asian nation over the nuclear threat they possess.
His tweet comes after several days of strident rhetoric from both sides, including a spontaneous statement by Mr Trump that Pyongyang faced “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continued to threaten the US.
Mr Trump said: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”
The tweet 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. The North has also repeatedly said that regular military exercises between the US and South Korea are a provocation.
The President’s talk of a military response stepped up after the the regime of Mr Kim threatened to fire missiles around the US territory of Guam. In his tweet, Mr Trump did not specify whether the solutions were preemptive or reactive, but on Thursday US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the military “was ready” to respond to any attack, but that the US preferred a diplomatic solution.
Mr Trump also 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.
Authorities on the US Pacific island, which has a population of more than 160,000 and hosts two key military bases housing roughly 6,000 military personnel, posted emergency guidelines on Friday 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 as It can blind you,” the guidelines stated. “Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.”
Mr Trump’s tweet attracted immediate criticism from opponents. Ben Rhodes, a former foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama, said: “This isn’t a video game. Hundreds of thousands of lives at stake in war with NK. Was this statement signed off on by anyone?
“Was this statement coordinated with South Korea and Japan, our allies who are at enormous risk in conventional conflict with North Korea?”
A number of nations have…