BEDMINSTER, New Jersey — President Donald Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “will regret it fast” if he continues his threats to U.S. territories and allies, in another warning that the U.S. is willing to act swiftly against the nuclear-armed nation.
In remarks to reporters, Trump issued the threat directly at Kim, who is also known for his bellicose rhetoric, and all but drew a red line that would trigger swift U.S. action.
“If he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat — which by the way he has been uttering for years and his family has been uttering for years — or he does anything with respect to Guam or anyplace else that’s an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast,” Trump said.
The words followed an early morning tweet in which Trump declared the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” if the isolated rogue nation acts “unwisely.”
The compounding threats came in a week in which the longstanding tensions between the U.S. and the isolated nation seemed to abruptly boil over. North Korea threated to launch an attack on the U.S. territory of Guam, while Trump vowed to deliver “fire and fury” if threatened.
Tough talk aside, there was scant sign the U.S. military was preparing for imminent action and an important, quiet diplomatic channel remained open. The Associated Press reported Friday that talks between North Koreans and a U.S. official continue through a back channel previous used to negotiate the return of Americans held in North Korea. The talks have expanded to address the deterioration of relationship, according to U.S. officials and others briefed on the process. They weren’t authorized to discuss the confidential exchanges and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Still, Trump on Friday sought to project the military strength.