(National Sentinel) War: The war of words between President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un escalated on Tuesday as a new Defense Intelligence Agency report from last month claimed the reclusive Stalinist nation may have perfected the process of miniaturizing nuclear devices so they can fit atop ICBMs.
Should the North miscalculate, it would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” said Trump. Hours later, a pair of B-1B bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam took part in a 10-hour mission to fly over the Korean peninsula, while U.S. Air Force officials at Guam said they are prepared to “fight tonight” if ordered.
“How we train is how we fight and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight,” said one pilot from the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, which took part in the mission, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.
That drew a response from Kim, whose regime said the volatile leader was “carefully examining” plans to make “an enveloping fire” around Guam, which is home to about 163,000 people.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday morning he does “not believe that there is any imminent threat” from North Korea, and that “Americans should sleep well at night.”
As reported by The Associated Press:
In more tranquil terms, Tillerson sought to explain the thinking behind Trump’s warning to Pyongyang that it would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it made more threats to the United States. Tillerson said Trump was trying to send a strong and clear message to North Korea’s leader so that there wouldn’t be “any miscalculation.”
“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said. “I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the U.S. unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies.”
He added that despite the president’s rhetoric, that didn’t mean the U.S. was closer to a preemptive strike.
“Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours,” Tillerson said.
Last week, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., told NBC‘s “Today” show that Trump had told him personally the U.S. was fully prepared to strike North Korea if it came to it, and that there are viable military options for just such a contingency, contrary to what most analysts and media outlets have said and reported.
“They’re wrong,” he told Today host Matt Lauer. “There is a military option to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself. If there’s going to be a war to stop him [Kim Jong Un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there, they’re not going to die here and he’s [Trump] told me that to my face.”
Regarding the DIA’s assessment, McClatchy Papers reports that no one in U.S. or Western intelligence circles is laughing anymore at North Korea’s potential to miniaturize nuclear devices, a vital step in manufacturing a functional ICBM capable of raining nuclear destruction thousands of miles away:
Whether Kim truly possesses the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead — and successfully launch it on an intercontinental missile — is unknown and remains hotly debated. Yet there is no doubt now that Kim has scored one major achievement: He is finally being taken seriously by the foreign policy establishment and intelligence agencies, evidenced by the latest assessment on his nuclear capabilities.
What’s more, there is no evidence that Kim’s hold on power is seriously under threat.
“North Korea is very, very stable,” said Moon Chung In, a national security adviser to South Korea’s president, during a recent interview in Seoul. “Kim Jong Un has consolidated power fully.”