Trump brags about US nuclear arsenal after North Korea’s Guam threat
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Trump brags about US nuclear arsenal after North Korea’s Guam threat

PRESIDENT Donald Trump struck back on Twitter in the latest of a series of barbs exchanged with the North Korean regime over its nuclear programme on Wednesday, bragging about the size and power of the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

“My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” Trump tweeted several hours after North Korea said it was considering plans to shoot missiles at the US territory of Guam.

“Hopefully, we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

The sharp increase in tensions between a country that has one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals and an aspiring nuclear power rattled financial markets and prompted US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to try to play down the rhetoric.

While Trump said the nuclear arsenal was more powerful than ever before, US officials say it takes decades to actually modernise nuclear weapons, a move already under way under President Barack Obama’s administration, and there are treaties that regulate nuclear expansion.

SEE ALSO: Trump warns of ‘fire and fury’ as North Korea threatens attack on US

The Trump administration is still conducting a nuclear posture review.

Shortly before Trump’s remarks on the nuclear arsenal, Tillerson landed in Guam for a previously scheduled visit after telling reporters he did not believe there was an imminent threat from North Korea and that “Americans should sleep well at night.”

Tillerson said with his “fire and fury” warning, the US president was trying to use the kind of language that would resonate with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the US.

SEE ALSO: Trump’s warning triggers North Korea to consider attack on US

“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said.

North Korea, which is pursuing missile and nuclear weapons programmes in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions, also accused the US of devising a “preventive war” and said in another statement any plans to execute this would be met with an “all-out war, wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the US mainland.”

The US has warned it is ready to use force if needed to stop North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes, but that it prefers global diplomatic action, including sanctions.

The UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday.

Additional reporting by Reuters