Donald Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ warning to North Korea over its nuclear arms had chilling echoes of former US president Harry Truman’s speech in the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb.
Speaking from his golf course at Bedminster, New Jersey, Mr Trump said: ‘North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.’
Referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the US president said: ‘He has been very threatening beyond a normal state and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.’
His comments followed a report that US intelligence believes Pyongyang has successfully produced a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.
Just hours after Mr Trump’s comments, North Korea said it is considering missile strikes on the US pacific island of Guam, home to Andersen Air Force Base.
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Political observers may have found Mr Trump’s tone familiar, as his words have distinct echoes of the famous speech given by former president Harry Truman after the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945.
The US would drop another atomic bomb on Nagasaki three days later.
Mr Truman said after the Hiroshima bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945: ‘Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base.
‘That bomb had more power than 20,000 tonnes of TNT. It had more than two thousand times the blast.’
‘It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.’
Mr Truman said the Japanese had failed to accept the terms of an ultimatum to end the war in the previous few weeks.
‘It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam,’ he said.
‘Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.’
Meanwhile, a nuclear expert who has made repeated visits to North Korea’s nuclear facilities said he doubted the country was yet capable of attacking Guam with medium to long-range missiles.
Siegfried Hecker, a professor at Stanford University’s Centre for International Security and Co-operation, said that escalating rhetoric from North Korea and the US was the real danger.
He said the real threat was ‘stumbling into an inadvertent nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula by misunderstanding or miscalculation’.
He added: ‘Inflammatory rhetoric on both sides will make that more likely.’
Authorities in Guam are reassuring citizens that the US territory is safe, following North Korea’s claim that it is examining its plan for ‘making an enveloping fire’ around the strategically important Pacific island.
(Main picture: AP)