LOCKED AND LOADED: Trump says US military ‘ready if necessary’ after pulling out of North Korea summit

Washington, D.C. (Fox News) — Minutes after pulling out of a highly anticipated summit with North Korea, President Trump said Thursday that the U.S. would continue its “maximum pressure campaign,” and warned that the military was “ready if necessary” — but made clear that a summit could still go forward if Kim Jong Un is willing to engage constructively.

“Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world … is ready if necessary,” Trump said.

“Likewise, I’ve spoken with South Korea and Japan, and they are not only ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea, but they’re willing to shoulder much of the costs associated by operations if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us,” he added.

He said that the “very strong sanctions” and the “maximum pressure campaign will continue.”

However, the president clearly left open the possibility of the scheduled summit taking place, despite his letter to Kim Jong Un canceling talks following threats of nuclear action from the rogue regime.

“Hopefully,” he said, “everything is going to work out well with North Korea. A lot of things can happen, including the fact—it’s possible the existing summit could take place, or a summit at a later date.”

Trump added: “Nobody should be anxious. We have to get it right.”

The move to pull out of the summit, which had been slated to take place in Singapore on June 12, came after threats from Kim to call off the talks. In a letter to Kim on Thursday, Trump said the world, and North Korea, had lost a “great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity.”

“Based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim on Thursday. “Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”

North Korea has for days questioned whether the summit would proceed as planned.

On Thursday, Vice Minister of the North Korean Foreign Ministry Choe Son Hui said that whether the U.S. “will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

The official also insulted Vice President Pence after he said North Korea had asked for the meeting. “As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice president,” Choe reportedly said.

But officials told Fox News it was the threat of nuclear war — not the insult to Pence — that had led to the summit pullout.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who met with Trump at the White House on Monday, convened an emergency meeting with top security aides on Thursday following Trump’s announcement, and expressed “deep regret” over the canceled U.S.-North Korea summit.

According to Yonhap, Moon urged the two leaders to engage in direct talks.

We “are trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it,” presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom reportedly said.

Moon said the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should not be delayed.

The Trump-Kim summit was set to come on the heels of a “historic meeting” between North and South Korea last month, when the leaders from those two nations pledged to clear the peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Moon and Kim announced they would work to achieve a “nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” and also expressed hope to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War by the end of the year, though it is not clear at this point what steps the leaders might take to achieve denuclearization.

“KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!” Trump tweeted last month.

The leaders had agreed that by May 1, the loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts that had been blaring from each side of the heavily armed border would be suspended. They agreed to also dismantle broadcasting equipment and stop flying propaganda leaflets across their border.

Kim also promised Moon that he “won’t interrupt” his “early morning sleep anymore,” referring to missile tests, South Korea said.

But Kim’s tune changed last week; he canceled a high-level summit with Moon following U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which the state-run Korean media outlet suggested were a rehearsal for a potential invasion of the North.






TRUMP: North Korea summit ‘may not work out’ as planned

Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — President Trump on Tuesday said his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may not take place in June, raising further doubt about whether the historic meeting would occur.

“There’s a very substantial chance that it won’t work out, and that’s OK,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “That doesn’t mean it won’t work out over a period of time, but it may not work out for June 12.”

Trump spoke during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose government has helped broker nuclear diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea. Moon’s visit comes three weeks before the scheduled Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.

Moon said the “fate and the future” of the Korean Peninsula depend on the talks. South Korea has urged Trump to resolve the nuclear crisis with Kim through talks.

But North Korea threw the nuclear summit into doubt last week when it scrapped high-level talks with South Korea and threatened to pull out of the talks with Trump if the U.S. continues to demand unilateral denuclearization.

North Korean officials also lashed out at Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, who suggested a North Korean arms deal could follow a “Libya model.”

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2003 surrendered his nuclear and chemical weapons in exchange for sanctions relief, but eight years later, was toppled by NATO-backed rebel forces.

Trump said Kim is “serious” about denuclearization and stressed that the North Korean leader’s safety would be ensured under any deal that eliminates his nuclear weapons.

“We will guarantee his safety,” Trump said, adding that if the U.S. and North Korea strike a deal, Kim would “be very proud” of what he did for his country.

The president also suggested North Korea’s neighbors would be willing to boost economic assistance efforts under a proposed deal.

“South Korea, China and Japan … they will be willing to help, and I believe invest very, very large sums of money to make North Korea great,” he said.

But Trump attributed North Korea’s harder line to a trip Kim took to China earlier this month in the run-up to the summit.

“There was a little change in attitude from Kim Jong Un,” he said.

The president also urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to remain committed to his goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, expressing hope it could influence Kim to remain willing to enter negotiations.

“I think that President Xi is a world-class poker player,” Trump said. “I can’t say that I’m happy about it.”


PRESIDENT TRUMP: ‘Era of strategic patience’ with North Korea ‘is over’

TOKYO, JAPAN — President Donald Trump stepped up his war of words against North Korea on Monday while speaking at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Speaking of the ongoing tensions with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Trump said the “era of strategic patience is over”.

The president made the comments as he tours Asia alongside wife, Melania Trump.

“Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong,” said Trump. “But look at what’s happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are now.”

Prime Minister Abe said he and President Trump are in “complete agreement” on the need to step up efforts against North Korea and pledged to help the United States do whatever is necessary to curb Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions.

“We were in complete agreement as to the measures to be taken on the situation with North Korea,” Abe said, adding that he agrees with President Trump’s assertion that “all options” should remain on the table when it comes to dealing with Jong-un.

“For more than 20 some years, the international community attempted dialogue with North Korea,” Abe said. “Now is the time not for dialogue but for applying a maximum level of pressure on North Korea.”

On Tuesday, President Trump will head to South Korea, where he is expected to meet with South Korean government officials on the growing escalations regarding their neighbors to the north.

When asked by “Full Measure” in an interview that aired Sunday whether or not he would be willing to meet face to face with Jong-un, Trump said he would (http://fullmeasure.news/news/terrorism-security/president-trump-on-security).

“I would sit with anybody I feel. I don’t think it’s strength or weakness. I think sitting down with people is not a bad thing,” he said.


JAPAN: North Korea nuclear strike on US ‘imminent’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The threat of a nuclear strike upon the U.S. by North Korea has grown to a “critical and imminent level” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera warned U.S. officials during a talk session on Monday.

Onodera’s remarks came as he met with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo at a gathering of Asian defense chiefs in the Philippines.

“(The) threat posed by North Korea has grown to the unprecedented, critical and imminent level. Therefore, we have to take calibrated and different responses to meet with that level of threat,” said Onodera, speaking through a translator.

South Korea’s Song echoed Onodera’s comments, stating “North Korea’s provocative behavior is becoming worse and worse.”

The sense of urgency were in response to Mattis’s recent remarks in which he said the U.S. would continue to seek out diplomatic efforts in an effort to avoid war.

Meanwhile, as reported by The New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2017/10/21/opinion/sunday/jimmy-carter-lusts-trump-posting.html), former president Jimmy Carter has offered to travel to North Korea to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in an effort to defuse escalating tensions.

“I would go, yes,” Carter told the Times of making the trip to North Korea.

“I’m afraid, too, of a situation,” he said of “unpredictable Kim Jong-un . “I don’t know what they’ll do. Because they want to save their regime. And we greatly overestimate China’s influence on North Korea. Particularly to Kim Jong-un. He’s never, so far as I know, been to China,” he said of China’s promise to help cool North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” he said of President Trump national security adviser Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster.

In an interview with Fox Business Network on Sunday, President Trump warned North Korea to tread carefully as the U.S. was “so prepared, like you wouldn’t believe” for a showdown with Pyongyang.

“You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be,” Trump said. “Would it be nice not to do that? The answer is yes. Will that happen? Who knows, who knows.”

Kim has publicly called out Trump on many occasions as “mentally deranged.”




WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Korea has developed an arsenal of up to 60 nuclear weapons capable of reaching the U.S., say latest intelligence reports.

The rogue state has lashed out at the United States over the last week in response to tough new sanctions imposed by the United Nations over it’s refusal to disarm it’s forbidden nuclear program.

A July assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency found North Korean military leaders have already developed a compact nuclear warhead that can be placed inside one of its advanced missiles, which intelligence officials say are capable of reaching approximately half of the United States.

“The [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” an excerpt of the DIA analysis reads.

The DIA assessment coincides with a report published on Tuesday by the Japan defense ministry which documents similar findings.

“It is conceivable that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons into warheads and has acquired nuclear warheads,” the Japanese white paper reports (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/08/north-korea-nuclear-miniaturised-warhead-advanced-considerably-japan).

The threat of impending war between North Korea and the U.S. have led to mandatory emergency disaster drills being carried out by the Japanese government due to the geographical proximity of North Korea to Japan’s north west (http://kotaku.com/japan-preparing-for-north-korean-missile-strikes-with-d-1797626196).

Last week, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said Washington would not seek UN Security Council action following North Korea’s latest missile test, because “the time for talk is over”.

On Saturday the UN Security Council voted unanimously to approve new sanctions against North Korea that included a ban on coal and other exports worth more than $1bn. North Korea responded by blaming the Trump administration for the sanctions and claimed the U.S. teetered “on the knife’s edge of life and death”.

“We are ready to retaliate with far bigger actions to make the US pay a price
for its crime against our country and people,” said the official Korean Central News Agency, adding it would send “packs of wolves” to “strangle” any nation who opposes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Reactions to Tuesday’s disturbing developments were swift, with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton tweeting, “We’ve been playing the diplomatic game for a long time with #NorthKorea and it’s only given them time to advance their weapons program. North Korea’s rhetoric is always over-the-top, but we need to continue to prepare against possible provocative or hostile action.”

President Trump also took to Twitter to address the American people on the ever growing danger over North Korea, tweeting,”After many years of failure,countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough & decisive!”

In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the concept of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped intercontinental weapons would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

“We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said.



WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump has asked the entire U.S. Senate to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on the escalating situation in North Korea.

During his daily press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the upcoming meeting, during which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats plan to fill the lawmakers in on the developing conflict.

The decision to call the nearly unprecedented briefing came after Trump’s conversation by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Monday, North Korean state media warned the United States of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States would do whatever it takes to stop the communist country’s quickly expanding nuclear program.

“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only US imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the US mainland and reduce them to ashes,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned.

Meanwhile, the rogue leader has taken another American citizen into custody, bringing the number of U.S. citizens imprisoned by the regime to three.

Tony Kim, a 58-year-old Korean-American professor, was detained at Pyongyang International Airport after teaching accounting at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and working on aid and relief programs to North Korea for the past month.

Kim was reportedly taken into custody in North Korea on Saturday as he was trying to leave with his wife on a flight to China.

21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student Otto Warmbier was also detained on January 2, 2016, at Pyongyang International Airport, while visiting the country as a tourist with Young Pioneer Tour.

During a one hour trial, Warmbier was charged with stealing a political sign from a staff-only floor in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang and committing “crimes against the state.”

The Ohio native was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

During an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlton Show” this month, Warbmier’s parents have reached out to president Trump for aid in bringing their son home.

“President Trump, I ask you: Bring my son home. You can make a difference here,” Fred Warmbier, the young man’s father pleaded.

Korean-American businessman Kim Dong Chul is also being held in a North Korean prison after arrested in October 2015 while in the city of Rason.

Kim had been detained on suspicion of engaging in spying and stealing state secrets. Kim was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor after North Korea’s Supreme Court found him guilty of espionage and subversion under Articles 60 and 64 of the North’s criminal code.

While U.S. government officials have demanded the release of the prisoners, North Korean officials say they are not willing to negotiate amid the current tensions between their country and the United States.