President Donald Trump vowed Thursday the U.S. would retaliate in the event North Korea attacks Guam.
Trump said perhaps his ‘fire and fury’ warning to North Korea “wasn’t tough enough” and issued a new warning over the North’s development of nuclear weapons.
Trump says North Korea “better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble.”
The president was addressing reporters during his vacation at his New Jersey golf club before a security briefing with top advisers.
It’s the latest warning since he said earlier this week that North Korea faces “retaliation with fire and fury unlike any the world has seen before.”
North Korea has said it may attack Guam in retaliation.
Meanwhile, the United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “troubled” by the escalating rhetoric from all sides in the North Korea nuclear dispute.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric says Guterres “welcomes all initiatives that will help de-escalate the tensions and a return to diplomacy.”
Asked Thursday whether the secretary-general could be a mediator, Dujarric says, “He is always willing to do so.”
The U.N. in the past has had an envoy for North Korea, but Dujarric says “every situation is different and it’s important not to make empty gestures.”
Dujarric says Guterres welcomed the U.N. Security Council’s adoption last Saturday of a resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea, including banning any coal, iron lead and seafood exports, and is urging all U.N. member states to implement it.
US anti-missile programs
Trump said he’s planning to add billions of dollars to the nation’s anti-missile programs.
“We are going to be increasing out budget by many billions of dollars,” the president told reporters.
He says an announcement is planned soon.
Trump also says the nation’s nuclear arsenal is in “in tip-top shape” and getting stronger. And he insists his administration has “done a lot of modernization” and “a lot of renovation” already.
Trump is also warning about the dangers of nuclear weapons, saying he’d like to “de-nuke the world.” But, he says, until that happens, the U.S. “will be the most powerful nuclear nation on earth, by far.”
Trump thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for slashing the number of U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia, “because now we have a smaller payroll.”
“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people,” Trump told reporters. “There’s no real reason for them to go back.”
It was unclear whether Trump was joking.
Putin, reacting to new sanctions imposed by the U.S. Congress, on July 30 ordered Washington to cut 755 of its 1,200 embassy and consulate staff by September. Many of those affected are likely to be local Russian staffers.
Mueller won’t be fired
Trump said Thursday he has not given any thought to the possibility of firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Speaking to reporters, Trump also said he was surprised by the FBI raid last month of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, adding that it sent a “strong signal.”
Spirit of the deal
Trump also said he did not believe Iran was living up to the spirit of the 2015 deal to curtail its nuclear weapons program.
“I don’t think Iran is in compliance,” Trump told reporters at his private New Jersey golf club. “I don’t they’re living up to the spirit of the agreement.”