- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 12, 2017

The rhetorical brinksmanship between Pyongyang and Washington escalated anew on Saturday, with North Korean state media circulating a report warning that the Trump administration “had better talk and act properly” unless it wants “the American empire to meet its tragic doom.”

The report by Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency came a day after — and appeared to be a response to — international headlines that Mr. Trump had made Friday by asserting that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” and will take action against the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “if he utters one threat.”

There was no immediate response Saturday from the White House to the new threat from North Korean state media — the latest in a fast-pace war of words that has escalated between the Trump administration and the Kim regime since Tuesday’s revelation of a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency analysis that said Pyongyang has built a nuclear bomb small enough to fit inside an intercontinental ballistic missile.

While many Democrats in Washington, as well as some world leaders, have lambasted Mr. Trump for escalating the tensions with bombastic rhetoric in recent days, the president dismissed such criticisms Friday.

“We have tens of millions of people in this country that are so happy with what I am saying, because they say finally we have a president that’s sticking up for our nation and frankly, sticking up for our friends and our allies,” Mr. Trump said. “And this man [Mr. Kim] will not get away with what he is doing, believe me.”

Mr. Trump also tweeted Friday that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” in preparation for any aggressive actions by North Korea — reiterating a similar statement from Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has defended the president’s sharp warnings toward Pyongyang.

China, meanwhile, has reportedly urged Mr. Trump and North Korea to tamp down the growing war of words. China is North Korea’s main trade partner and ally and Washington has spent years trying to convince Beijing to help apply pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The BBC reported Saturday on a Chinese state media report that said Chinese President Xi Jinping had told Mr. Trump in a phone call that “all relevant parties” should stop “words and deeds” that would exacerbate the current round of tensions.

Other Western news organizations on Saturday reported that North Korea’s KCNA news agency had circulated the latest harsh statements.

“If the Trump administration does not want the American empire to meet its tragic doom in its tenure, they had better talk and act properly,” the North Korean media report said, according to ABC News.

“Of late, the president and other riffraff of the U.S. are trumpeting about ‘military option’ against the DPRK, claiming that they ‘will not rule out a war.’” the report said. “Meanwhile, they introduce huge strategic nuclear assets into the Korean peninsula, staging reckless nuclear war games and rendering the regional situation extremely tense.”

• Dave Boyer and Sally Persons contributed to this report.

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