Political News

The Latest: Trump stresses US nuclear capabalities

Posted August 9

FILE - In this July 28, 2017, file photo distributed by the North Korean government on Saturday, July 29, 2017, shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea. A U.S. official says American intelligence agencies have assessed that North Korea has developed a nuclear warhead that could be fitted onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. The official says the Defense Intelligence Agency assessment, first reported by The Washington Post on Aug. 8, says North Korea has made a miniaturized nuclear warhead, but that it would still have to hurdle other technical issues before it could successfully deliver such a weapon. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

— The Latest on the North Korea crisis (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is stressing the United States' nuclear capabilities, saying "there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!"

On Twitter Wednesday, Trump said he had pushed to "renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal." He then added: "Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!"

The comments come as Trump and North Korea traded escalating threats. Trump's heated rhetoric comes as his secretary of state seeks to downplay the words.

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9:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the United States' nuclear arsenal is "far stronger and more powerful than ever before."

Trump tweeted Wednesday: "My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before...."

The tweet came as Trump traded escalating threats with North Korea. Trump on Tuesday threatened "fire and fury" if North Korea made more threats to the U.S. And North Korea's military said it was examining plans for attacking Guam.

Trump retweeted news coverage about his heated rhetoric Wednesday.

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9 p.m.

President Donald Trump is retweeting news coverage about his heated rhetoric against North Korea, even as his secretary of state is downplaying Trump's words.

On Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted "Fox & Friends" tweets about Trump's fiery rhetoric. One said "Trump vows U.S. 'power' will meet North Korean threat." Another included a video clip of Trump vowing to respond to North Korean threats with "fire and fury."

The president's retweets about his rhetoric Tuesday come as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was urging calm. Tillerson said Wednesday as he returned from an Asia trip he doesn't believe there is "any imminent threat."

Trump and North Korea have been exchanging escalating threats, with the North saying it was examining plans for attacking Guam. But Tillerson told reporters that nothing he's seen or knows of in the last day dramatically changed the situation.

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8:45 p.m.

The European Union says it's concerned about tensions over North Korea and that the standoff can only be resolved by peaceful means, as a word of words escalates between Washington and Pyongyang.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's spokeswoman said Wednesday that the developments are "of great concern to the EU."

Spokeswoman Catherine Ray says "a lasting peace and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula must be achieved through peaceful means."

Ray says that for Mogherini, "that excludes military action."

Ray also says Pyongyang "must comply without delay fully and unconditionally with its obligations" under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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8:35 p.m.

The German government has expressed concern over what is described as the "rhetorical escalation" between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman says "further saber rattling" and military measure won't help solve the issue.

Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that Germany "calls on all parties to show restraint."

Schaefer says it's important for recently tightened U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea to be implemented.

He says Germany backs a proposal by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for talks with North Korea provided the Asian nation if it stops further missile tests.

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8:25 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he doesn't think a new diplomatic strategy for North Korea is warranted.

Tillerson is speaking after President Donald Trump and North Korea exchanged threats that have raised concerns about a potential military confrontation. North Korea's army said it was studying a plan to create an "enveloping fire" in areas around Guam

But Tillerson says the current U.S. strategy is working.

Tillerson is pointing to new pressure the world is putting on North Korea, including sweeping new U.N. sanctions that the United States orchestrated. He says "the pressure is starting to show." Tillerson says he believes that's why North Korea's rhetoric is becoming louder and more threatening.

Tillerson says North Korea still has a way out in the form of negotiations, under the right conditions.

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8:20 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Donald Trump threatened North Korea to send a strong message "in language that Kim Jong Un can understand."

Trump on Tuesday threatened "fire and fury" if North Korea made more threats to the U.S. And North Korea's military said it was examining plans for attacking Guam.

But Tillerson says North Korea's rhetoric is simply getting louder and more threatening because of new international pressure. He says Trump delivered the message the way he did because the North Korean leader "doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language."

Tillerson says Trump wanted to make clear to North Korea that the U.S. has the "unquestionable ability to defend itself" and will protect itself and its allies. He says Trump want to "avoid any miscalculation" by Pyongyang.

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5:30 p.m.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English says President Donald Trump's comments about North Korea are "not helpful" in an environment that is "very tense."

English says Trump's comments are more likely to escalate the situation than to settle it.

Trump has vowed to answer North Korea "with fire and fury" if Pyongyang continued to threaten the U.S, after the North's military has claimed it was examining plans for attacking the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific.

English says all countries want to avoid military confrontation and the way for that to happen is for North Korea to comply with U.N. sanctions and for international pressure to push the nation in that direction.

English told reporters Wednesday at the nation's Parliament in Wellington that New Zealand has not raised concerns with the U.S. administration about Trump's remarks, but would if his tone continued.

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