President Donald Trump on Friday warned that North Korea “will truly regret it” if dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime continues to threaten the United States or attacks a U.S. territory or American ally.
“If he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat … 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,” the president told reporters from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “And he will regret it fast.”
Trump tweeted Thursday morning that military solutions were “fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”
“Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” he added.
Asked to explain his message to North Korea, the president said his tweet was “pretty obvious.”
“We are looking at that very carefully. And I hope that they are going to fully understand the gravity of what I said, and what I said is what I mean,” Trump continued. “So hopefully they’ll understand exactly what I said and the meaning of those words. Those words are very, very easy to understand.”
Trump has continued to escalate his rhetoric since warning Tuesday that if North Korea continues to threaten the U.S., “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
He suggested Thursday, however, that his fiery language “maybe wasn’t tough enough.”
Critics have said the president’s belligerent comments aren’t helping reach a resolution with North Korea, but Trump argued that “my critics are only saying that because it’s me.”
“If somebody else uttered the exact same words that I uttered, they’d say, ‘What a great statement, what a wonderful statement,’" Trump said. “But I will tell you, we have tens of millions of people in this country that are so happy with what I’m saying because they’re saying, ‘Finally, we have a president that’s sticking up for our nation and, frankly, sticking up for our friends and our allies.’ And this man will not get away with what he’s doing. Believe me.”
North Korea has “misbehaved” for decades, Trump said, through numerous administrations that failed to “take on the issue.” “I have no choice but to take it on, and I’m taking it on,” he said. “And we’ll either be very, very successful, quickly, or we’re going to be very, very successful in a different way quickly.”