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Donald Trump blames predecessors for North Korea crisis, warns of 'devastating' military option

Washington: President Donald Trump warned North Korea on Tuesday that any US military option would be “devastating” for Pyongyang, but said the use of force was not Washington’s first option to deal with the country’s ballistic and nuclear weapons program.

 Donald Trump blames predecessors for North Korea crisis, warns of devastating military option

File image of Donald Trump at UN General Assembly. Reuters

“We are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option", Trump said at a White House news conference, referring to military force. “But if we take that option, it will be devastating, I can tell you that, devastating for North Korea. That’s called the military option. If we have to take it, we will".

Trump also blamed the problem of North Korea's nuclear program on his predecessors.

"North Korea is a situation that should've been handled 25 years ago, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago and five years ago", he said.

Bellicose statements by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in recent weeks have created fears that a miscalculation could lead to action with untold ramifications, particularly since Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on 3 September.

Despite the increased tension, the United States has not detected any change in North Korea’s military posture reflecting an increased threat, the top US military officer said on Tuesday.

A US official speaking on the condition of anonymity said satellite imagery had detected a small number of North Korean military aircraft moving to the North’s east coast. However the official said the activity did not change their assessment of Pyongyang’s military posture.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Monday accused Trump of declaring war on the North and threatened that Pyongyang would shoot down US warplanes flying near the Korean Peninsula after American bombers flew close to it last Saturday. Ri was reacting to Trump’s Twitter comments that Kim and Ri “won’t be around much longer” if they acted on their threats toward the United States.

North Korea has been working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the US mainland, which Trump has said he will never allow. Dunford said Pyongyang will have a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile “soon,” and it was only a matter of a “very short time”.

“We clearly have postured our forces to respond in the event of a provocation or a conflict,” the general said, adding that the United States has taken “all proper measures to protect our allies” including South Korean and Japan.

“It would be an incredibly provocative thing for them to conduct a nuclear test in the Pacific as they have suggested, and I think the North Korean people would have to realize how serious that would be, not only for the United States but for the international community", Dunford said.

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Updated Date: Sep 27, 2017 07:53:52 IST

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