OVER-THE-TOP, BELLICOSE RHETORIC | N.Korea warns of nuclear war, Trump says U.S. is ‘locked and loaded’

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Kim Trump combopic
At odds but smiling through their teeth. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left), and US President Donald Trump. Reuters composite photogaph

Moscow is worried by the mutual threats being traded by Washington and Pyongyang: “It is now starting to go over the top. We still hope and believe that common sense will prevail.”

BEDMINSTER, N.J./SEOUL – United States of America President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Friday, saying the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war and world powers expressed alarm.

The Pentagon said the United States and South Korea would proceed as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, an action sure to further antagonize North Korea. Meanwhile, Russia, China and Germany voiced dismay at the escalating rhetoric from Pyongyang and Washington.

Trump, vacationing at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, kept up the war of words and again referenced North Korea’s leader in his latest bellicose remarks toward Pyongyang this week. “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday the risks of a military conflict over North Korea’s nuclear program are very high, and Moscow is deeply worried by the mutual threats being traded by Washington and Pyongyang.

“Unfortunately, the rhetoric in Washington and Pyongyang is now starting to go over the top,” Lavrov said. “We still hope and believe that common sense will prevail.”

Asked at a forum for Russian students about the risks of the stand-off escalating into armed conflict, he said: “The risks are very high, especially taking into account the rhetoric.”

“Direct threats of using force are heard… The talk (in Washington) is that there must be a preventive strike made on North Korea, while Pyongyang is threatening to carry out a missile strike on the U.S. base in Guam. These (threats) continue non-stop, and they worry us a lot.”

“I won’t get into guessing what happens ‘if’. We will do whatever we can to prevent this ‘if’.”