In Brief

We'll hit North Korea with fire and fury, vows Trump

Pyongyang threatens to bomb US bases in Guam after President steps up rhetoric

Donald Trump has threatened North Korea with devastating military action unless it ceases its threats against the US.

Ramping up the rhetoric against the state, the US President told reporters in New Jersy: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen."

His warning followed revelations from US military analysts that North Korea has developed nuclear warheads small enough to be fitted to its recently tested intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power," the Washington Post reports, citing a "confidential assessment" from US intelligence officials.

Pyongyang responded to Trump's words by directly threatening the Pacific island of Guam, which the US uses as a military base.

Specifically, it mentioned a potential strike on the Andersen Air Force Base, where strategic bombers are stationed, which would send a serious warning signal to the US, CNN reports.

The strike plan would be "put into practice at any moment once leader Kim Jong-un makes a decision", a spokesman for the Korean People's Army said on the state-run KCNA news agency.

North Korea vows 'thousands-fold' revenge over sanctions

7 August 

North Korea has threatened revenge after the UN imposed more than $1bn (£766mn) in sanctions. These include a ban on coal, iron, lead and seafood exports.

The North Korean government has labelled the sanctions a "violent infringement of its sovereignty" caused by a "heinous US plot to isolate and stifle" the country. 

The DPRK has promised a "decisive act of justice" against Washington and nations that support the UN measures.

"We will calculate the price of the US heinous crime – which they are committing against our nation and the people – a hundred thousand times," the Korean-language statement says.  

The UN Security Council – including Russia and China – voted 15-0 for new sanctions on Saturday in what Nikki Haley, America's ambassador to the UN, called the single largest economic sanctions package ever levelled against North Korea.

"It is time for North Korea to realise we are not playing anymore," Haley told the Fox News programme Sunday Morning Futures.

The sanctions are in response to North Korea's test launch of two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs) and the country's determination to develop a long-range missile capable of striking the US mainland.

China has urged North Korea to end missile tests and accept UN action, The Independent reports.

The UN sanctions also limit the number of North Koreans permitted to work abroad, and stop countries from entering joint ventures with North Korea or further investing in existing ventures.

Trump vows action after North Korea missile test

31 July 

Donald Trump has promised to take "all necessary measures" to protect Japan from North Korea, while blaming China for Pyongyang’s rapidly advancing nuclear weapons programme.

In a phone call on Monday, the US President and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, agreed more action was needed to deter North Korea, reports The Times. They did not discuss a military response to the launch of a second intercontinental ballistic missile in weeks.

Abe also called on China and Russia to do more.

“We have made consistent efforts to resolve the North Korean problem in a peaceful manner, but North Korea has ignored that entirely and escalated the situation in a one-sided way,” he said.

“The international community, starting with China and Russia, must take this obvious fact seriously and increase pressure.” 

His comments echoed a statement over the weekend from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who called China and Russia "economic enablers" of the regime, Bloomberg reports.

Nikki Hayley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, also said the US is "done talking about North Korea" and China must decide if it is willing to back imposing stronger UN sanctions.

Last week, North Korea successfully tested its second intercontinental missile in a month. It travelled for roughly 45 minutes and 620 miles before it crashed into the Sea of Japan.

Experts believe Pyongyang may now have the capability to hit the US mainland, a development Trump said "wouldn't happen" back in January.

Melissa Hanham, an expert on the North Korean nuclear weapons programme, told The Atlantic: "With these new numbers, it's crunching out to look like between a 10,000 and an 11,000-kilometer [missile]. If it’s as far as 11,000, that puts every US state but Florida in range. That includes Washington, DC [and] New York City."

Asked if North Korea could hit the US, she replied: "The scientist in me says probably, but the policymaker in me says it doesn’t matter. We need to move ahead as though they do because the consequences of being caught surprised are worse."

The US responded to the latest missile launch by flying bombers over the Korean peninsula and testing a controversial missile shield. Trump also took to Twitter to vent his frustration.

US threatens force against North Korea

6 July

The US ambassador to the United Nations says the White House is prepared to use force against North Korea and that this week's intercontinental ballistic missile test was a "clear and sharp military escalation".

Speaking to the UN Security Council, Nikki Haley said Pyongyang was "quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution" and that "the United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies".

She added: "One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them, if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction."

Haley called for an "escalated diplomatic and economic response" and signalled that countries still trading with North Korea may face sanctions.

"Haley called out China specifically, noting that 90 per cent of North Korea's trade is with China," CNN says.

According to the Washington Post, her "pointed speech marked the latest effort by the Trump administration to rally allies and rivals around a common agenda".

However, it also "illustrated the limits of the White House's options and lacked specifics".

In an interview with the BBC, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson criticised North Korea's "reckless" actions and called on China to step up pressure on Pyongyang.

He said: "People will say, 'Well, what can we actually physically do?', and the single most important thing is for the country with the most direct economic relationship with North Korea, that is China, has got to continue to put on the pressure.

"In the last six months or so, we are seeing some real changes in Beijing's attitude to North Korea and that's got to go further."

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