President Donald Trump vowed Friday that "there's going to be big, big trouble in North Korea" if the country fired on Guam and promised that the U.S. Pacific territory "will be very safe" in any attack.
"I feel they will be very safe," Trump told reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., though he said he had not yet talked with Guam's governor, Eddie Calvo. "Believe me, they will be very safe.
"And if anything happens to Guam, there's going to be big, big trouble in North Korea," he said.
Trump declined to be more specific on this comments, including on whether he would respond with military action.
"I don't talk about that, you know that," he told one reporter. "I'm not one that says, 'We're attacking Mosul in four months.
"We don't do it — or we don't do it."
When asked again about possible military action, Trump said, "I think you know the answer to that."
Trump's comments came as he steadily increased his rhetoric against North Korea on Friday, beginning with a tweet saying that the United States was "locked and loaded" and that Pyongyang "will truly regret" threatening or attack Guam or any U.S. ally.
President Trump said that he would be talking later Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Pyongyang.
"We have been working very closely with China and with other countries," the president said.
He added that South Korea "probably feel as reassured as they can feel" by his comments.
"Certainly they feel more assured with me than other presidents from the past," Trump continued. "It is a very bad situation.
"It's a very dangerous situation — and it will not continue."
Flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Trump reiterated his preference for a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis.
"Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump.
"Hopefully, it will all work out — but this has been going on for many years," he said.
"Would have been a lot easier to solve this years ago before they were in the position that they're in, but we will see what happens.
"We think that lots of good things could happen — and we could also have a bad solution," Trump said. "But we think lots of good things can happen."
The president also insisted that he and Tillerson were "totally on the same page," particularly amid reports of back-channel negotiations with North Korea that have been going on for several months on many issues.
Tillerson, who has emphasized diplomacy, said that "it takes a combined message.
"We're going to get effective movement out of the regime in North Korea.
"The president made it clear he prefers a diplomatic solution," he added. "He responded to that in effect just a moment ago.
"What the president is doing is trying to support our efforts in ensuring that North Korea understands what the stakes are," Tillerson said.
In addition, Trump dismissed statements from state-owned media in North Korea quoting military officials attacking him, saying: "Let me hear Kim Jong Un say it.
"He's not saying it," Trump added, referring to the dictator. "He hasn't been saying much for the last three days.
"You let me hear him say it."
Trump also said that the administration was considering further economic sanctions against Pyongyang — "very strong ones."
"They're already very strong," he said. "We are considering additional sanctions at a very, very high level — and, probably, you could say as strong as they go."
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