Reuters BEDMINSTER, N.J. (Reuters) — U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea again on Thursday not to strike Guam or U.S. allies, saying his earlier threat to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough.
After North Korea disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, Trump said the move would prompt “an event the likes of which nobody’s seen before.”
He took specific aim at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying he had “disrespected our country greatly. He has said things that are horrific. And with me, he’s not getting away with it,” Trump told reporters in New Jersey.
“It’s not a dare. It’s a statement,” Trump said. “He’s not going to go around threatening Guam. And he’s not going to threaten the United States. And he’s not going to threaten Japan. And he’s not going to threaten South Korea.”
North Korea’s army will complete the plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near Guam, when they will be ready for Kim’s order, state-run KCNA news agency said. The plans called for the missiles to land in the sea 30 to 40 kilometers from Guam.
“Let’s see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody’s seen before, what will happen in North Korea,” Trump said, without offering specifics.
Shortly after Trump spoke, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters in Mountain View, Calif., the United States still preferred a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat and a war would be “catastrophic.”
Asked if the United States was ready if North Korea took a hostile act, he said, “We are ready.”
Far from toning down his words after saying on Tuesday that any threats by Pyongyang would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said those remarks may have not gone far enough. “Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said.