Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:48AM
The Anderson US Air Force base in Yigo on the island of Guam on August 11, 2017.  (AFP photo)
The Anderson US Air Force base in Yigo on the island of Guam on August 11, 2017. (AFP photo)

US President Donald Trump has issued another provocative warning to North Korea, declaring that his threat to unleash “fire and fury” on the country was not “tough enough,” as tensions mount between the two nations over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program.

Trump was speaking to reporters on Thursday ahead of a national security briefing at his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is spending a two-week vacation.

“Frankly, the people who were questioning that statement, was it too tough? Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” he said.

“They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and 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,” he added.

Trump warned Pyongyang not to threaten the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, a US territory with several military bases. North Korea responded to Trump’s “fire and fury” warning on Tuesday by threatening to launch a missile strike toward Guam.

“If he does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before, what will happen in North Korea,” Trump said.

“He’s not going to go around threatening Guam and he’s not going to threaten the United States and he’s not going to threaten Japan, and he’s not going to threaten South Korea.”

Asked if the US is considering a preemptive strike, the president replied: “We don’t talk about that. I never do.”

US President Donald Trump speak to the press on August 10, 2017, at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey before a security briefing. (Getty Images)

Trump made his latest comments on North Korea during a pair of televised media events that covered a range of topics. He accused Iran of not complying with the international nuclear deal reached in 2015.

Trump also thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to force the United States to slash its diplomatic staff in Moscow half, saying it would help him trim government payroll costs.

Experts on North Korea have warned that aggressive rhetoric could backfire on Trump, convincing Pyongyang that it is in imminent danger and triggering what he sees as a pre-emptive attack.

“It is dangerous and reckless and counterproductive for Donald Trump to threaten the annihilation of North Korea,” said Daryl Kimball, the head of the Washington-based Arms Control Association. “What we need is a dialogue to reduce tension and avoid catastrophic miscalculation. We are currently on the road to a conflict and we have to get to the off-ramp.”