President Donald Trump declared the U.S. nuclear arsenal “far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” even as his top diplomat was working to calm the North Korea crisis and insisting there wasn’t “any imminent threat.”
In a series of early-morning tweets Wednesday, Trump reaffirmed his threat from a day earlier by reposting video of him warning the previous day that Pyongyang would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it made more threats to the U.S. Then, he said that his first order as president had been to “renovate and modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
It wasn’t immediately clear what evidence the president had, if any, to support his claim about the nuclear force.
The crisis centres on comments from North Korea’s army, which said it is studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around Guam, a U.S. territory about 3,400 kilometres away, with medium to long-range ballistic missiles.
Trump issued an executive order in his first days in office calling for a review to ensure the U.S. nuclear deterrent is “modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready” and appropriately tailored for 21st century threats. The White House has not detailed any findings from that evaluation. A modernization effort started by former president Barack Obama is in the early stages, but the force is essentially unchanged from the way Trump inherited it on Jan. 20.
My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….
…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!
Only hours before Trump’s tweets, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged calm and said Americans should have “no concerns” despite the exchange of threats between the president and North Korea. Aboard his plane as he flew home from a working trip to Asia, Tillerson insisted the developments didn’t suggest the U.S. was moving closer to a military option to dealing with the crisis.
“Americans should sleep well at night,” Tillerson said.
“Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours.”