President Donald Trump on Friday said North Korea's leader would "regret" making any "overt" threat, keeping up the pressure after a string of combative warnings.
"If [King Jong Un] utters one threat in a form of an overt threat — which, by the way, he has been uttering for years, and his family has been uttering for years — or if he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it. And he will regret it fast," Trump told reporters ahead of a workforce development meeting at his New Jersey golf club.
Trump's latest warning came hours after he issued his bluntest statement yet to North Korea, saying the U.S. military is "locked and loaded" to respond to a Pyongyang provocation.
In a tweet, Trump said, "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"
@realDonaldTrump Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully, Kim Jong Un will find another path!
It is not clear what exactly the U.S. military has done to get its responses "fully in place." Asked Friday about what he meant by the tweet, Trump said it is "very, very easy to understand," adding, "what I said is what I mean."
Trump on Friday also shared a U.S. Pacific Command tweet from Thursday saying U.S. B-1B bombers on Guam "stand ready" to fulfill a "fight tonight" mission "if called upon to do so."
Pacific Command: # USAFB-1B Lancer # bomberson Guam stand ready to fulfill USFK's # FightTonightmission if called upon to do so https://go.usa.gov/xRV8p
On Tuesday, The Washington Post, citing a confidential U.S. intelligence assessment, reported that North Korea had successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit inside its missiles.
The U.S. has repeatedly stressed that it wants dialogue and economic sanctions to deter Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear and missile programs. So far, North Korea has continued tests in the face of sanctions. The latest attempt to punish the nation economically came Saturday, when the U.N. Security Council approved a sanctions resolution. China and Russia voted for the measure.