Trump is NOT out of order – the USA IS under nuclear threat, says North Korea expert

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Donald Trump was right to be harsh in his response to North Korean missiles

Dr Emily Landau, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), said no matter what you think about Mr Trump’s leadership, it was not over the top and should have been predictable, given the threat.

The president was widely criticised for riling North Korea’s despot leader Kim Jong-un in early August after news the hermit kingdom had successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead to fit into an intercontinental ballistic missile which they claimed could reach the US mainland.

Mr Trump, tweeted: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.

“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen, he has been very threatening beyond a normal state.

“They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Dr Landau said his reaction was entirely understandable given the US mainland was being threatened.

On Monday, Mr Trump toned down his rhetoric when North Korea fired three missiles over North Japan, instead of towards Guam as Kim had threatened.

Dr Landau, an expert in negotiations with Iran and North Korea, told “Leaving aside anything else anyone would want to say about the Trump presidency, in many different respects, this particular dynamic is driven by North Korea’s nuclear advances.

“This is because of what the North Koreans have demonstrated, as far as their ability to strike the US mainland – and that’s what started this new chapter.

“It’s not about Trump saying ‘fire and fury’ because I can say any US president sitting in the White House in the wake of a North Korean missile test that demonstrates the ability strike the US mainland, you would see a deterrent threat issued by the United States.

“I would go so far as to say that it would be bizarre if there was not a deterrent threat issued because it’s a new stage in terms of the threat that North Korea is posing.

“That’s something which the United States needs to respond to. I think that needs to be made clear.”

Dr Landau said much is made about Trump’s often inflammatory remarks, however, during Barack Obama’s presidency North Korea made major nuclear advances and fired four missiles, including two in the last few months before Mr Trump took over.

She added: “One of the main things Obama told Trump when he handed the presidency over was North Korea is going to be your most severe security threat.”

Dr Landau admitted Mr Trump makes it difficult because he elicits “such hysteria”, but urged people to look at Defence Secretary James Mattis’ statement which he released a day after the president’s fire and fury message.

She said: “Mattis was even clearer in terms of what will happen to North Korea if it thinks about striking the US mainland.

“So, yes, fire and fury, but really if you look at the statement and the tone he used I think it’s a little bit more than Trump.

Donald TrumpGetty

Mr Trump said ‘fire and fury’ would rain down on Kim Jong-un if he fired at the US

Dr Emily LandauINSS

Dr Emily Landau is an expert on Iran and North Korean nuclear proliferation

“Trump’s was a deterrent threat, we can criticise the specific words but they weren’t outrageous by any means.

“Mattis is regarded as a more measured person, he didn’t get that kind of attention the way Trump did.

“If there was not a deterrent threat issued that would have been the odd thing, that would have been extremely odd.

“If North Korea starts threatening to strike US mainland – when it’s the mainland it’s a different thing.

“Take 9/11, the minute there was 9/11 you knew there was going to be a strong reaction by the US, it wasn’t only about the horrific way it happened and the number of people which were killed, it was a strike on the US mainland.

“You strike the US mainland you’re going to get it, and it’s the same here.”