President Donald Trump wrote online Friday that plans for military action against North Korea are “locked and loaded,” urging North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to “find another path” amid escalating tensions on both sides of the Pacific.
“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” the president wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
The president’s stepped-up rhetoric has come in response to seeming advancements in North Korea toward its long-held goal of obtaining a nuclear weapon capable of striking the U.S.
Trump and Kim Jong Un have been locked in a war of words for days, beginning with Trump’s promise to unleash “fire and fury” on the isolated communist nation, which in July completed its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
“He has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement,” Trump said of Kim on Tuesday, in comments that were reportedly off the cuff. “And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
North Korea responded hours later by accusing the U.S. of “war hysteria” and threatening to strike Guam. Trump then told reporters on Thursday that his previous threats may not have been “tough enough.”
Should North Korea attack the U.S. or one of its allies, Trump said that “things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK? He’s been pushing the world around for a long time.”
Trump’s comments are notably more aggressive than the messaging from many in his administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, who have said they will continue to pursue diplomatic talks rather than military action.
Foreign policy experts have criticized the president’s language as “reckless” and “dangerous.”