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North Korea, Donald Trump trade nuclear barbs

US President points to powerful arsenal after Pyongyang says considering missile strike on Guam

Doina Chiacu & Christine Kim | Reuters  |  Washington/Seoul 

NKorea, Trump trade nuclear barbs
North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un

President followed up his incendiary warning to against threatening the United States with a boast on Wednesday about the strength of the US arsenal, but expressed hope this power would never need to be used.

Trump’s Twitter messages about the arsenal came after said it was considering plans for a on the US Pacific territory of That in turn followed Trump’s comments on Tuesday that any North Korean threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury.” “My first order as President was to renovate and modernise our arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” tweeted. “Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!” Trump’s “fire and fury” remarks prompted warnings from US officials and analysts not to engage in rhetorical slanging matches with By saying he hoped Washington would never need to use its arsenal, appeared to temper his comments.

The sharp increase in tensions drove investors out of stocks on Wednesday and into the yen, Swiss franc, gold and government debt.

US Secretary of State sought to play down the rhetoric. Shortly before Trump’s remarks on the arsenal, landed in for a previously scheduled visit after telling reporters he did not believe there was an imminent threat from and that “Americans should sleep well at night.”

With his “fire and fury” warning, the US president was trying to speak in a way that would resonate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said. regularly threatens to destroy the United States.

“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, said it was “carefully examining” a plan to strike Guam, which is home to about 163,000 people and a US military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group.

The plan would be put into practice at any moment, once Kim Jong Un made a decision, a Korean People’s Army spokesman said in a statement carried by state-run KCNA news agency.

Governor Eddie Calvo dismissed the threat and said the island was prepared for “any eventuality” with strategically placed defences. He said he had been in touch with the and there was no change in the threat level. The United States and South remain technically still at war with after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Tension in the region has risen since carried out two bomb tests last year and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. has said he will not allow to develop a weapon capable of hitting the United States. North Korea, which is pursuing missile and weapons programs in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, accuses the United States of devising a “preventive war” and has said that any plans to execute this would be met with an “all-out war, wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the US mainland.”

First Published: Thu, August 10 2017. 02:17 IST