U.S. President Donald Trump has issued yet another warning to North Korea, saying the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” and prepared to retaliate against Pyongyang if initiates warfare against the U.S.
“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” Trump warned in a Friday morning post on Twitter. Trump added: “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”
The president’s warning comes hours after China said would not assist North Korea if it launches a first strike that threatens U.S. soil and the U.S. retaliates.
The warning from China was published in an editorial Friday in the Global Times, a state-owned newspaper that recommended Beijing remain neutral in the event of a North Korean first strike.
“China should … make clear that if North Korealaunches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” said the newspaper, which is not an official voice of China’s Communist Party.
The editorial said, however, China would intervene if the U.S. and ally South Korea collaborate militarily with the intent of ousting Kim Jong Un’s regime.
“If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”
The editorial amounts to a reiteration of China’s position on the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, as it has repeatedly warned the U.S. and Pyongyang to refrain from taking provocative actions.
War of words continues
On Thursday, Trump stiffened his resolve against North Korea, saying that if Pyongyang strikes first, “things will happen to them like they never thought possible.”
Trump said that his earlier warning to inflict “fire and fury” on the reclusive communist regime for its nuclear weapons development program perhaps “wasn’t tough enough.”
Asked what would be tougher, Trump told reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, “You’ll see. … 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.”
Trump’s remarks came hours after North Korea said it is finalizing a plan to launch a salvo of four ballistic missiles to the waters off the shores of the U.S. territory of Guam, Pyongyang’s latest provocation in the war of words between it and Washington.
Later Thursday at an event in California, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States is focused on diplomacy, but it is his responsibility to have military options ready “should they be needed” in the event of a war with North Korea — an option he said “would be catastrophic.”
Mattis stressed, however, that diplomatic efforts were gaining traction. “I want to stay right there, right now,” he added.
In an unusually detailed announcement, North Korea’s military said Thursday that within a week it would hand the regime’s leader, Kim Jong Un, a plan to fire Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan toward Guam, 3,300 kilometers to the south.
General Kim Rak Gyom, the commander of the North’s strategic rocket forces, told the state-run KCNA news agency the military would “wait for his order.”
North Korea’s state media has said that under the plan four intermediate-range missiles would be fired into waters 30-40 km (18-25 miles) from Guam “to signal a crucial warning to the United States.”
Guam residents said Friday they were anxious but overall “unworried” by missile threats from North Korea.
Friday, South Korea’s presidential office said that South Korea’s chief of national security, Chung Eui-Yong, and his U.S. counterpart H.R. McMaster reaffirmed their close cooperation on North Korean issues.
Chung and McMaster had a telephone conversation to discuss North Korea, presidential spokesman Park Su-hyun said.