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Trump says ‘fire and fury’ remark not tough enough

‘If North Korea does anything ... they can be very, very nervous’

Aug 12,2017
U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” upon North Korea “wasn’t tough enough,” he said on Thursday while on vacation at his New Jersey golf course.

“I will tell you this,” he said, “if North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent, or our allies or us - they can be very, very nervous. I’ll tell you why, and they should be very nervous, because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, okay?”

Trump added that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has “disrespected our country greatly,” adding, “with me, he’s not getting away with it.”

Trump’s chilling remarks came in response to North Korea’s statement on Thursday that an operational plan aiming at waters near Guam will be completed by mid-August. The North did not mention when the operation would be carried out but said it would “keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the U.S.”

Four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles will cross the sky above Japan, said the North, flying over 3,300 kilometers (2,051 miles) for about 17 minutes before coming down 30 to 40 kilometers off the coast of the American island, which hosts a strategic U.S. Air Force base.

Pyongyang also said Trump’s previous threat of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” was a “load of nonsense” that failed “to grasp the ongoing grave situation.”

Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was quoted by Japanese news outlets as saying Thursday that his country was “ready to deal with any contingency just in case,” but declined to answer whether it would intercept North Korean missiles.

He did, however, say that Japanese Ageis destroyers equipped with antimissile SM-3 rockets might be allowed to shoot down the missiles, according to the Japan Times, which cited him as saying, “You cannot rule out the possibility that [such a situation] might affect the chance of Japan’s survival.”

China warned Trump not to “play with fire” in a commentary released via the state-run Xinhua News Agency, saying, “Exercising restraint is needed for making responsible choices to ensure peace.”

Beijing advised Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang to build mutual trust through dialogue, adding that a key premise for that goal would be for North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile and nuclear program while South Korea and the United States suspend their joint military drills.

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared support for the United States in case North Korea attacks, saying the Australian-American alliance was the “absolute bedrock of our national security.”

He added, “We have an Anzus agreement,” referring to the security treaty between Australia, the United States and New Zealand. “If there is an attack on Australia or the United States, then each of us will come to the other’s aid.”

Meanwhile, the European Union announced in a statement Thursday that nine persons and four entities, including North Korea’s state-owned Foreign Trade Bank, have been added to its sanctions list of frozen assets and travel restrictions in response to the regime’s ongoing nuclear and missile development.

The decision brings a total of 62 people and 50 entities in line with UN sanctions against North Korea, while the European Union has autonomously slapped restrictive measures on another 41 people and seven entities.

On Aug. 5, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a sweeping sanctions package following North Korea’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July, stepping up restrictions on its international trade and affecting as much as one-third of its $3 billion annual export revenues.

North Korea refrained from directly mentioning Trump’s name or its proposed attack on Guam on Friday, but a commentary in the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun slammed Washington’s push for more sanctions against the regime, saying, “the army and people of the DPRK will put an end to the vicious moves of the U.S. for isolating and stifling” the country, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

On Thursday night, the state-run Korean Central News Agency accused Seoul of detaining 13 North Korean women whom South Korean authorities said defected on their own, calling the detention a “hideous crime” and “another intolerable political provocation.”

The North said there could never be any humanitarian cooperation, including the reunion of families separated by the Korean War, unless the South unconditionally repatriates them.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]


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