Beijing, August 11, 2017 – President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Friday, saying what he called U.S. military solutions were “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.
Russia, China and Germany expressed alarm at the escalating rhetoric from Pyongyang and Washington, while the Pentagon said the United States and South Korea would move ahead as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, an action sure to further antagonize North Korea.
Trump, vacationing at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, kept up the war of words on Twitter and again referenced North Korea’s leader. “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” he wrote. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”
The term “locked and loaded,” popularized in the 1949 war film “Sands of Iwo Jima” starring American actor John Wayne, refers to preparations for shooting a gun.
The Republican president’s tweet came shortly after the North Korean state news agency, KCNA, put out a statement blaming him for the boiling tensions.
“Trump is driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war, making such outcries as ‘the U.S. will not rule out a war against the DPRK (North Korea),'” KCNA said.
A senior U.S. diplomat has engaged in back-channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months, addressing the deteriorating relations, as well as the issue of Americans imprisoned in North Korea, the Associated Press reported.
The contacts are being held regularly between Joseph Yun, the U.S. envoy for North Korea policy, and Pak Song Il, a senior North Korean diplomat at Pyongyang’s U.N. mission, according to U.S. officials and others briefed on the process cited by the AP. – Reuters