Military option with North Korea 'locked and loaded': Trump
US President Donald Trump has said a military option against North Korea is "locked and loaded," ratcheting up his war of words against the Asian nation.
"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" Trump tweeted on Friday.
A day earlier, Trump issued another apocalyptic warning to North Korea, saying his previous threat to hit the country with American "fire and fury" maybe "wasn't tough enough."
During a lengthy exchange with reporters at his golf club in New Jersey on Thursday, Trump said, “It’s about time someone stood up for the people of our country.”
Responding to North Korea's rejection of his warning as "nonsense," Trump said that "maybe it wasn't tough enough."
"They've been doing this to our country for a long time, many years," he said. "It's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough."
Trump told reporters that they will see what is "tougher" than "fire and fury.”
Republican hawks are also pushing the president towards launching war against North Korea.
GOP Senator Lindsey Graham said on Thursday the United States should go for a military option against North Korea and predicted that Washington will win the conflict.
"If we have to, we'll go to war. I don't want to, but if we have to, we'll go to war. And I'll tell you who'll win that war, we will," Graham said.
However, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has warned that war with North Korea would be "catastrophic".
Mattis said on Thursday the Pentagon was having military options ready "should they be needed" but claimed diplomatic efforts were yielding results.
"The American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results and I want to stay right there right now," Mattis said at an event in California.
"The tragedy of war is well-enough known it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic," he added.
On Tuesday, Trump said the US would rain "fire and fury" on North Korea, which some said could "only be interpreted" as a nuclear threat.
In response of Trump’s dire warning, North Korea said it was "carefully examining" a plan to strike the American Pacific territory of Guam with missiles.
The North Korean military said it could carry out a pre-emptive strike if there were signs of an American provocation.
The US is against North Korea’s nuclear weapons but Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.