Military options for North Korea 'locked and loaded,' Trump warns

Guam strategic US territory under threat

Guam strategic US territory under threat

"Fire and fury" has become "locked and loaded" as President Donald Trump's warnings against North Korea's threats to USA military installations and its nuclear ambitions continue. "What we're seeing today is political tensions over North Korea and the United States ... making people nervous", said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in NY. "The problem is the president, by ratcheting up the rhetoric to a reckless level - to a point where it nearly sounds like an echo chamber with the kind of North Korean rhetoric we have come to expect where it is unhinged to the point of parody - it creates a real danger for the world". "And I noticed many senators and others today came out very much in favor of what I said". But then the policy has to be bent to fit somewhere in the same universe as the rhetoric.

"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. But if North Korea keeps up its aggression, Trump might have to choose between following through on his threats or surrendering some USA credibility on the world stage. Beijing has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behaviour from South Korea and the United States, such as military drills, that it sees as increasing tensions.

"We hope all relevant parties speak cautiously and move prudently, stop provoking each other, avoid further escalating the situation and strive to return to the correct track of dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible", the Foreign Ministry said. "Fight tonight" has long been the motto of USA forces in South Korea to show they're always ready for combat on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. defense chief said North Korea "would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is no military solution to the dispute, adding that "an escalation of the rhetoric is the wrong answer". "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 told reporters in New Jersey, without offering specifics. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Asia this week, said North Korea could signal it was ready for such talks by halting any missile tests for an extended period. US Defense Secretary James Mattis later sought to temper Trump's harsh words by saying the United States still preferred a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat.

If the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fires missiles toward Guam, they would take about 14 minutes to reach the island and the alert system there would notified the public, Guam's Homeland Security Office said Thursday.

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The contacts quickly restarted after Mr Trump's inauguration, other people familiar with the discussions say.

The spokesman said the strike would aim to "contain the USA major military bases on Guam".

The New York Times reports Trump didn't run his "fire and fury" remark by the White House first - but officials say Trump's comments were in line with the type of message the administration wants to send.

Trump's war of words with Kim shows little sign of stopping.

Previously it had said it would shoot down only missiles on course for Japan. The United States and South Korea remain technically at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

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