maybe ‘fire and fury’ wasn’t tough enough threat

President warns country to ‘get their act together’, as adviser Sebastian Gorka rejects Rex Tillerson’s attempt at reassurance

Donald Trump has issued another provocative warning to North Korea, suggesting that his threat to unleash “fire and fury” on the country was not “tough enough”.

The US president told reporters that North Korea “better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world”.

North Korea has carried out five nuclear tests since 2006, so it unquestionably has the capacity to create some form of nuclear bomb.

To function effectively, however, the bomb needs to be small enough to fit on to a missile. Some experts believe the North has already “miniaturised” its nuclear capability, while others believe the regime is still several years away from being able to do so. Japan’s defence ministry warned on 8 August that it was possible that Pyongyang had mastered miniaturisation. 

North Korea would also need a reliable delivery system for any bomb. Its proven short- and medium-range missiles could reach South Korea and Japan. In July it test-launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles, placing US cities in range of potential attack, according to US experts.

Trump was speaking ahead of a national security briefing at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is on what he describes as a working vacation. The president’s threat earlier this week to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” was widely condemned as unnecessarily incendiary.

But far from toning down the rhetoric, Trump said on Thursday: “Maybe it wasn’t tough enough. They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”

Asked if the US is considering a preemptive strike, the president replied: “We don’t talk about that. I never do.”

Trump went on to say that North Korea should be “very nervous” if it is even thinking about launching an attack on the US or its allies. “Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK? He’s been pushing the world around for a long time.”

He also suggested that he would take a more lenient view of China’s trade policies if it brings pressure to bear on Pyongyang.

The latest remarks came after North Korea…

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