UPDATE : 2017.8.21 MON 14:26
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Trump doubles down on warnings to N. Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump doubled down on his warnings to North Korea Thursday, saying his recent threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang may not have been tough enough.

Speaking to reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump made clear he will respond forcefully to any North Korean attack on the U.S. or its allies.

"They've been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries," he said. "So if anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough."

Trump sparked a controversy Tuesday after saying North Korea would be met with "fire and fury" if it continued its threats to attack the U.S. Many said such language was unheard of from a U.S. president.

In response, North Korea threatened to fire ballistic missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam, which is home to U.S. bombers and other strategic assets.

Asked what would be tougher than "fire and fury," Trump said, "You'll see. You'll see."

He also wouldn't be drawn into a question about a possible preemptive strike on North Korea

"We don't talk about that. I never do," he said. "What they've been doing, what they've been getting away with, is a tragedy and it can't be allowed."

Striking a similar tone with his top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump said the U.S. will "always" consider negotiations with the reclusive regime. But he also pointed out, "They've been negotiating now for 25 years."

The American people, Trump said, should be "very comfortable."

"If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous," he said. "Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?

"The people of our country are safe. Our allies are safe. And I will tell you this: North Korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world," Trump warned.

On China, the commander in chief was more benevolent than he has been in the past, noting that Beijing has unmatched influence over its recalcitrant neighbor.

"I think China can do a lot more, yes. China can. And I think China will do a lot more," he said. "Look, we have trade with China. We lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It's not going to continue like that. But if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade, a lot differently toward trade."

Trump praised China and Russia last week after they helped pass new U.N. Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang. (Yonhap)

Kim Su-a  edt@koreapost.com

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