Concerns over "increasingly confrontational" North Korea dispute

President Trump has said any further threats will be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen"

Concerns over "increasingly confrontational" North Korea dispute

US President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, 08-08-2017. Image: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

The Minister for Justice has hit out at the language used by the leaders of North Korea and the United States as tensions continue to rise.

This morning, North Korea said it was “carefully examining” a plan to strike the US territory of Guam with ballistic missiles.

The threat came hours after US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that any threat would be met with “fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Later, President Trump tweeted that America’s nuclear arsenal is “far stronger and more powerful than ever before.”

Speaking today, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan criticised both sides for what he called “megaphone diplomacy” adding that, given the situation, the language is “entirely unhelpful and scary.”

“I believe it is important in the context of international relations that any disputes or differences of opinion can be dealt with around the table – and I refer specifically to international fora (forums) such as the United Nations.”

His comments come as the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that he is troubled by the "increasing confrontational rhetoric."

Strong message

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meanwhile has moved to defend his president’s remarks insisting he chose his words carefully.

“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand,” he said.

“Because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.

“I think the President just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the US unquestionable ability to defend itself [...] and its allies and I think it was important that he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part.”

Pressure campaign

He said he does not believe there is any imminent threat – despite reports in The Washington Post that North Korea had successfully made a miniaturised nuclear warhead that can fit inside one of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The newspaper said the claim was contained in a confidential assessment by America's Defence Intelligence Agency.

He said he remained hopeful that the current “pressure campaign” against the isolationist regime – including the tough new economic sanctions imposed by the UN – can pay dividends over time.

He insisted that nothing has changed over the past 24 hours that would make a military response to the dispute more likely adding that “the American people should sleep well at night.”

The US Defence secretary James Mattis meanwhile called on North Korea to stop "actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."