President Donald Trump returned to the attack on North Korea on Thursday, telling reporters at his country club in New Jersey that perhaps his previous threat to rain “fire and fury” on the renegade state maybe “wasn’t tough enough.”
Speaking alongside vice president Mike Pence, Trump also said that China could do “a lot more” to pressure Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program, despite his ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley paying tribute to the Communist country when they backed the US motion for further sanctions at the Security Council meeting on Saturday.
North Korea had dismissed Trump’s warnings earlier this week as “a load of nonsense” and “bereft of reason” and claimed earlier on Thursday that it would continue with a test in mid-August that would see four missiles land just miles off the coast of the US island territory of Guam.
“They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, many years,” Trump said. “It’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”
This week’s mutual sabre-rattling has horrified many, with senior US diplomats being forced to tone down the tenor of the remarks made by the president, leading some to identify mixed messages emanating from Trump aides about US intentions.
But Trump pushed aside such concerns, saying “there are no mixed messages.”
North Korea “should be very, very nervous. Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK.”
He said the United States remained open to negotiations and once again suggested that he expected China to do more to bring North Korea into line.
“I think China can do a lot more. I think China will do a lot more,” he said.
“I will tell you this, North Korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble in this world, OK?”