PRESIDENT Trump ratcheted up fears of a nuclear confrontation with North Korea — telling the world: “We’re ready.”
Trump, responding to reports that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was considering missile attacks on the US island territory of Guam, said America would retaliate with “fire and fury”.
He tweeted: “My first order as President was to renovate and modernise our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.
“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 Defence Secretary James Mattis also urged North Korea to “stand down” from its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
He warned against “actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who flew into Pacific isle Guam yesterday, played down the sabre-rattling.
He said: “What the President is doing is sending a strong message in language Kim Jong-un would understand because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.”
But Guam’s islanders remain nervous. Lawyer Todd Thompson: “I think people are just stunned.
“I sort of laughed it off because I figured cooler heads in Washington would prevail.
“But I have to say, I’m not laughing now. My concern is things have changed in Washington. Who knows what’ll happen?”
Tour bus driver Cecil Chugrad said: “I’m a little panicked. I feel like moving.”
Mitch Thompson said: “People have no confidence that the White House will do the right thing.”
One islander said: I’m not scared of NK, I’m scared of Trump.”
The US Defense Intelligence Agency now believes North Korea has produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead to fit its missiles.
IT’S A PRIME TARGET
THE Pacific island of Guam is being targeted by Kim Jong-un because it is just 2,100 miles from North Korea, within range of its missiles.
The 210-square mile US territory is also home to 160,000 American citizens and 4,000 troops.
North Korea’s threats are a response to new UN sanctions, backed by Russia and China, imposed because of its refusal to stop provocative missile tests.
Independent experts from Japan, America and South Korea estimate that an intercontinental ballistic missile fired by North Korea last month travelled 2,300 miles.