The U.S. Pacific Command tweeted Thursday that U.S. bombers on Guam stand ready "if called upon to fulfill USFK's #FightTonight mission if called upon." "FightTonight" is the slogan U.S. Forces Korea use to reflect America's commitment to defending South Korea at a moment's notice from any North Korean aggression.
While on a working vacation in Bedminster, New Jersey, the president on Tuesday warned North Korean leader Kim Jung Un and his regime that if they continue to threaten the U.S., they will be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
On Thursday, Trump told reporters that perhaps that warning "wasn't tough enough."
North Korea has for a decade been testing ballistic missiles and working to develop its nuclear program with the goal of building a weapon capable of reaching the continental United States. The threat from the country intensified when North Korean leader Kim Jung Un’s regime for the first time launched a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.
According to an assessment released Tuesday, U.S. intelligence analysts said they believe they may have the technology to develop a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit on a ballistic missile.
The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted last Saturday to implement new sanctions against North Korea, banning exports worth over $1 billion, in response to the country's most recent missile test on July 28.
North Korea slammed the sanctions as a "violent infringement of its sovereignty" and said it would take "thousands-fold" revenge against the U.S.
The following day Trump ramped up the rhetoric: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," he said.
In response to Trump's comments, North Korea announced that it plans a missile strike on waters near the U.S. territory of Guam, which is home to several U.S. military bases.
Guam has a defense system - the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD - in place to shoot down an incoming ballistic missile.
The U.S. also has the option of conducting a pre-emptive strike targeting North Korean missiles and nuclear facilities, yet that could trigger an attack by Kim Jong Un on South Korea that could lead to a devastating number of civilian causalities.
The U.S. has 28,500 troops permanently stationed in South Korea and 54,000 troops in Japan. The U.S. Navy has also stationed destroyers and cruisers in Japan that are capable of destroying missiles from North Korea shortly after they are launched.