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Washington - Trump Warns NKorea That US Is 'Locked And Loaded'

Published on: August 11, 2017 08:24 AM
By: AP
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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after a security briefing with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster (L) and ?Vice President Mike Pence (R) at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey U.S. August 10, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after a security briefing with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster (L) and ?Vice President Mike Pence (R) at Trump’s golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey U.S. August 10, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Washington - President Donald Trump tweeted that military solutions are “locked and loaded” as officials said Friday they plan to move ahead with large-scale U.S.-South Korea exercises later this month that North Korea, now finalizing plans to launch a salvo of missiles toward Guam, claims are a rehearsal for war.

The exercises are an annual event, but come as Pyongyang says it is readying a plan to fire off four Hwasong-12 missiles toward the tiny island, which is U.S. territory and major military hub. The plan would be sent to leader Kim Jong Un for approval just before or as the U.S.-South Korea drills begin.

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Called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the exercises are expected to run from Aug. 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air. Washington and Seoul say the exercises are defensive in nature and crucial to maintaining a deterrent against North Korean aggression.

The exercises were scheduled well before tensions began to rise over Trump’s increasingly fiery rhetoric and North Korea’s announcement of the missile plan, which if carried out would be its most provocative launch yet. Along with a bigger set of maneuvers held every spring, the exercises are routinely met by strong condemnation and threats of countermeasures from North Korea.

Trump tweeted Friday: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

While tensions typically spike around the dates of the exercises — North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test just days after last year’s maneuvers — the situation generally calms afterward as the North needs to focus on its farms and the approach of the fall harvest.

The heightened military activity on the peninsula this time is a concern because it could increase the possibility of a mishap or an overreaction of some sort by either side that could spin into a more serious escalation. North Korea has been increasingly sensitive to the exercises lately because they reportedly include training for “decapitation strikes” to kill Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.

Pyongyang is also switching its propaganda machine into high gear by bringing in a large number of foreign journalists to ensure it gets global attention for an event next week in honor of its ruling Kim family on Mount Paektu, a dormant volcano that straddles the Chinese border and is something of a spiritual home for the regime.

Defense officials in Seoul confirmed Friday that the exercises are expected to begin without any delays, but refused to provide further details. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Ulchi-Freedom Guardian involves about 40,000 troops, along with civilian South Korean government personnel who train their civil defense responses.

The possibility of escalation is made even more acute by the lack of any means of official communication across the Demilitarized Zone, though there has been no easing of the barrage of inflammatory comments in the U.S. and the North since new sanctions against North Korea were announced last week.

Keeping up his tough talk from his New Jersey golf resort where he is on a working vacation, Trump warned Kim Jong Un’s government to “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea was too mild.

Trump declined to say whether the U.S. is considering a pre-emptive military strike as he spoke to reporters before a briefing with his top national security advisers.

The president insisted the North had been “getting away with a tragedy that can’t be allowed.”

“North Korea better get their act together, or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble,” Trump said, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence. Accusing his predecessors of insufficient action, Trump said it was time somebody stood up to Kim Jong Un.

Though tensions have been building for months amid new missile tests by the North, including the launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the pace has intensified since the U.N. Security Council on Saturday passed sweeping new sanctions Trump had requested.

According to its reported plan, North Korea would fire four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missiles over Japan and into waters around Guam, home to about 7,000 troops and 160,000 people.

North Korea said its military would finalize the plan by mid-August, then wait for Kim’s order. U.S. allies Japan and South Korea quickly vowed a strong reaction if the North were to follow through.

Trump echoed that threat Thursday, insisting if North Korea took any steps to attack Guam, its leaders would have reason to be nervous.

“Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?” Trump said. He did not specify what they might be.



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Read Comments (12)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 11, 2017 at 08:34 AM Educated Archy Says:

Kim you meet your match . Game is over . All other presidents ignored you . The thinking was if we don't give you attention you'll stop. But that's no longer the case. Because instead of stopping Kim just pushed right thru . Should we wait till he can reach NYC ? Not that I am into polls but according to wnyc a recent poll found 50% of Americans want trump to do what needs to be done with n Korea vs 44% who don't . To quote wnyc that's larger than trumps approval rating .Time to get tough !

2

 Aug 11, 2017 at 08:45 AM Educated Archy Says:

This maybe not so Trump like but I'll point out something ironic . In reality for the long term we won Vietnam and lost the Korean War . It's an interesting thought and I am nit sure what to make of it .

3

 Aug 11, 2017 at 09:23 AM savtat Says:

Simply terrifying.

4

 Aug 11, 2017 at 09:28 AM Anonymous Says:

To #2-How did the USA win in Vietnam? 58,000 Americans were lost in a no-win war, as well as millions of Vietnamese civilians. If the USA had minded its own business and stayed out of that war, it would have ended 10 years sooner. The USA gained nothing by that war, and it tore our country apart.

5

 Aug 11, 2017 at 09:39 AM big picture perspective Says:

The article describes the North Korean plans as "rehearsal for war", and the US activities as "exercises " and "annual events", but the US "exercises" ARE "rehearsal for war". That's what military "exercises" are exercising! For the US to conduct those exercises right up against the North Korean border isn't any less provocative because they have been doing it in the past. The difference is that now the North Koreans are beginning to be able to reciprocate and even the game. We send tens of thousands of troops and zillions of dollars of equipment halfway around the world to their border, and after 65 years of that we complain that they are just now beginning to reciprocate a little teeny bit.

6

 Aug 11, 2017 at 10:49 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Educated Archy Says:

Kim you meet your match . Game is over . All other presidents ignored you . The thinking was if we don't give you attention you'll stop. But that's no longer the case. Because instead of stopping Kim just pushed right thru . Should we wait till he can reach NYC ? Not that I am into polls but according to wnyc a recent poll found 50% of Americans want trump to do what needs to be done with n Korea vs 44% who don't . To quote wnyc that's larger than trumps approval rating .Time to get tough !

You first. Go ahead. Enlist for combat duty in South Korea. Too old? Send your kids. Big mouth. Go ahead, surprise us. I prefer my military decisions be approved by the people risking their own lives with the consequences, or their parents.

7

 Aug 11, 2017 at 11:44 AM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

To #2-How did the USA win in Vietnam? 58,000 Americans were lost in a no-win war, as well as millions of Vietnamese civilians. If the USA had minded its own business and stayed out of that war, it would have ended 10 years sooner. The USA gained nothing by that war, and it tore our country apart.

Thats my point. Of course we lost millions and suffered tremedously but the orinic thing is that the war that we lost, ended up nowdays not being a threat and a being an ally to the USA and the world. The war that we won ended up being the biggest danger. That's the irony.

8

 Aug 11, 2017 at 11:46 AM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

You first. Go ahead. Enlist for combat duty in South Korea. Too old? Send your kids. Big mouth. Go ahead, surprise us. I prefer my military decisions be approved by the people risking their own lives with the consequences, or their parents.

Silly argument. it does not solve the issue that if we don't fight now we will loose in the future. The pointing the finger and saying you go fight does not answer the dilemma which is we must fight now to save tommorow.

9

 Aug 11, 2017 at 01:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Sunday there will be a pro Trump rally on fifth ave and 55 st. Near Trump Tower. Between 530 pm and 9 pm. Let's show our support as Trump comes to NYC.

10

 Aug 11, 2017 at 01:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Educated Archy Says:

Silly argument. it does not solve the issue that if we don't fight now we will loose in the future. The pointing the finger and saying you go fight does not answer the dilemma which is we must fight now to save tommorow.

Lose what? Save what tomorrow? It's the USA that has been threatening the existence of North Korea for 65 years, not the other way around. You seem to be looking for an excuse for violence, or an outlet for hatred, as long as others are the ones risking their lives.

11

 Aug 11, 2017 at 02:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Educated Archy Says:

Silly argument. it does not solve the issue that if we don't fight now we will loose in the future. The pointing the finger and saying you go fight does not answer the dilemma which is we must fight now to save tommorow.

#6 is right. You aren't competent to make the claims you make. You aren't competent to make the assessments you make. You aren't competent to reach the conclusions you do. It's like if you had cancer, would you treat it yourself?

12

 Aug 11, 2017 at 04:07 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

#6 is right. You aren't competent to make the claims you make. You aren't competent to make the assessments you make. You aren't competent to reach the conclusions you do. It's like if you had cancer, would you treat it yourself?

True I am not competent . But thats why I am not president. Thats why we elected a competent man like Trump. So that he who is competent can make the choice. Its the presidents job to asses and know

13

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