Trump: ‘We are totally prepared’ for military engagement with North Korea

President Donald Trump indicated again Tuesday a willingness to take military action with regard to North Korea, a day after that country’s foreign minister accused the American president of declaring war.

“We are totally prepared for [a military option],” said Trump at a White House press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “Not a preferred option, but if we take that option, it will be devastating.”

On Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York that after Trump’s remarks at the United Nations last week — in which he threatened to “destroy” the country — “Our country has every right to make countermeasures.”

The foreign minister added that such “countermeasures” included “shoot[ing] down United States strategic bombers, even when not inside the airspace border of our country.”

The back and forth between Trump and the North Korean government this week continues a months-long war of words between the two countries that has seen North Korea threaten the U.S. territory of Guam and the nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un, call Trump a “dotard” who exhibits “mentally deranged behavior.”

“[Kim] is acting very badly,” said Trump at the White House Tuesday. “He is saying things that should never, ever be said, and we’re replying to those things, but it’s a reply. It’s not an original statement. It’s a reply.”

Trump also criticized previous administrations, saying that the “situation” with North Korea “should have been handled 25 years ago, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago and five years ago.”

“You had various administrations … which left me a mess,” said the president. “But I’ll fix the mess.”

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