President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States was “totally prepared” for military action against North Korea — “it will be devastating” — after Pyongyang said the president declared war and threatened to shoot down American bombers in international airspace.
“We are totally prepared for the second option,” Trump told reporters at a Rose Garden news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “Not a preferred option.
“If we take that option, it will be devastating,” he added. “Devastating for North Korea.
“That’s called the military option,” the president said. “If we have to take it, we will.
“He is acting very badly,” Trump said of dictator Kim Jong Un. “He is saying things that should never, ever be said.
“And we’re replying to those things.”
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Monday that President Trump had declared war in a Sunday tweet that the regime’s leaders “won’t be around much longer.”
Ri also vowed that Pyongyang would fire at any U.S. aircraft near the country, even in international airspace.
“Last weekend, Trump claimed that our leadership won’t be around much longer, and hence at last he declared war on our country,” Ri told reporters outside the United Nations.
“Given the fact that this came from someone who holds the seat of the U.S. presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war.
“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers, even when they are not yet inside the airspace border of our country,” Ri added.
“The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then.”
In the Rose Garden, President Trump blamed the North Korean situation on previous administrations, saying that “it could have been handled very easily.
“You had various administrations which left me a mess.
“But I’ll fix the mess,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.