Thursday, 10 August 2017

North Korea: Donald Trump says United States' nuclear arsenal is 'more powerful than ever'

Extract from ABC News

Updated about 2 hours ago

United States President Donald Trump has followed up his incendiary warning to North Korea against threatening the US, with a boast about the strength of America's nuclear arsenal, although he expressed hope it would not need to be used.

Key points:

  • Mr Trump says there will never be a time the US is not the world's most powerful nation
  • Landing in Guam, Rex Tillerson plays down Mr Trump's remarks as "a strong message"
  • Guam Governor dismisses the threat but is in communication with the White House

"My first order as President was to renovate and modernise our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before," Mr Trump tweeted.
"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!"
President Trump's Twitter posts about the nuclear arsenal came after North Korea said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam, which in turn followed Mr Trump's earlier comments that any North Korean threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury".

The sharp increase in tensions between a country that has one of the world's largest nuclear arsenals and an aspiring nuclear power rattled financial markets and prompted US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to try to play down the rhetoric.
Speaking to reporters before landing in Guam, Mr Tillerson said Mr Trump was trying to send a strong message to North Korea when he earlier said it would face "fire and fury" if it continued to threatened the United States.
"What the President is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language," Mr Tillerson said.
Mr Tillerson said Mr Trump wanted to make clear to North Korea that the US had the "unquestionable ability to defend itself" and would protect itself and its allies.

Video: Philip Williams says Trump has matched the North Koreans in use of language (Photo: Reuters/KCNA) (ABC News)

He added that the President wanted to "avoid any miscalculation" by Pyongyang.

Earlier on Wednesday, North Korea said it was "carefully examining" a plan to strike Guam, which is home to about 163,000 people and a US military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group.
The plan would be put into practice at any moment, once Kim Jong-un made a decision, a Korean People's Army spokesman said in a statement carried by state-run KCNA news agency.
Guam Governor Eddie Calvo dismissed the threat and said the island was prepared for "any eventuality" with strategically placed defences.
He said he had been in touch with the White House and there was no change in the threat level.

Video: Trump warns North Korea of 'fire and fury' (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) (ABC News)

Trump comments 'aren't helpful'

The threats exchanged between Mr Trump and North Korea have raised global concerns about a potential military confrontation which places other nations in the firing line.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said Mr Trump's comments about North Korea were "not helpful" in an environment that is "very tense".
Mr English said Mr Trump's comments were more likely to escalate the situation than to settle it.
"Everyone wants to avoid military confrontation, and the path ahead there is for North Korea to comply with the UN sanctions and for international pressure to push them in that direction," Mr English told reporters in Wellington.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday condemned threats coming out of Pyongyang, urging China to play a bigger role in heading off war.
"The regime must come to its sense and stop its illegal provocations," he said.

Video: Last month North Korea aired footage it claimed to be of a successful ICBM launch (ABC News)


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