President Donald Trump has issued another warning to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un that the U.S. will respond to further provocations with military force. Both Trump and the Kim regime have been exchanging escalating rhetoric following North Korea's advancements in its nuclear program.
On Aug. 11, Trump stated that he would order the U.S. to retaliate against North Korea if Kim made another verbal threat or attacked the U.S. territory of Guam, The Associated Press reports.
"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 told reporters in Bedminster, New Jersey.
On Aug. 8, Trump stated that the U.S. was willing to use military force against North Korea after the Kim regime demonstrated the capability of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the U.S. mainland.
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"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump said, according to The New York Times. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
The president had not consulted with the Pentagon before using his choice of words.
"The tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. Huckabee Sanders added that the words Trump used "were his own."
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On Aug. 10, Trump doubled down on his original statement, pushing back on critics' concern that his rhetoric was escalating the potential of war between the U.S. and North Korea.
"Frankly, the people who were questioning that statement, was it too rough?" Trump said during a press conference. "Maybe it wasn't tough enough."
Trump added that if Kim "does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before, what will happen in North Korea."
Following Trump's original statement, the Kim regime announced a plan to launch 12 rockets toward the coast of Guam, home to over 160,000 American citizens.
"Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him," North Korean Gen. Kim Rak Gyom said in a statement, according to The Guardian.
While Trump and the Kim regime have been exchanging heated rhetoric, U.S. Special Rep. for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun has been spearheading diplomatic talks with North Korean officials through a New York-based communications back channel, the AP reports.
Executive director Keith Luse of the U.S. National Committee on North Korea said that while diplomats from both countries were talking, "the massive trust deficit in Pyongyang and in Washington toward each other has impeded the confidence-building process necessary to have constructive dialogue."