Trump's comments drew a counter threat from North Korea, which said it is 'carefully examining' a preemptive strike on Guam.> Share on Facebook > Share on Twitter
President Donald Trump's warning Tuesday that North Korea "will be met with fire and fury" if it continues its saber rattling sparked new fears that the standoff over the regime's advancing nuclear and missile programs could devolve into a shooting war.
The seemingly off-the-cuff broadside also reignited concerns raised during the presidential campaign that Trump's tough rhetoric, including his previous calls to build up the American nuclear arsenal, could be dangerously destabilizing.
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"The greatest North Korean threat we face is not from a nuclear-tipped missile hitting the U.S. mainland but from Washington stumbling into an inadvertent nuclear war on the Korean peninsula," Siegfried Hecker, a former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and a nuclear expert who has visited North Korea seven times since 2004, said in an email.
"The president's statements exacerbate" such concerns, Hecker said.
The president's remarks drew an almost immediate response from North Korea, which issued a statement saying it was "carefully examining" a plan to launch a preemptive strike on the U.S. territory of Guam, which lies about 2,000 miles away.
Trump made the comments from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is staying as the White House undergoes renovations for much of this month.