The U.S. military is “ready to respond” should North Korea respond aggressively to President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel his summit with Kim Jong Un, a senior defense official revealed Thursday.
“Right now we are in a level of good readiness. We’re in a boxer’s stance. We’re ready to respond. We’ll see what develops over the next few days,” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, director of the U.S. military’s Joint Staff, explained to reporters.
“If any provocative actions occur from (North Korea), we will certainly, in concert with our allies and partners in the region, be ready for it.”
“We are ready to fight tonight. That’s always been the case,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White added, with McKenzie stressing that the U.S. military is maintaining its usually high level of vigilance.
“It is not a heightened state of vigilance. It is the normal state of vigilance that we maintain,” he said, explaining that the military watches North Korea carefully because they “have proven to be unpredictable in the past.”
Following critical comments from Pyongyang, Trump decided to cancel his summit with Kim, which was initially expected to be held next month in Singapore.
“I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” the president wrote in his letter to the North Korean leader.
“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”
Commenting on America’s military readiness, Trump issued a simple warning to North Korea.
“I have spoken to General Mattis and the joint chiefs of staff, and our military … is ready if necessary,” Trump said.
His comment followed a particular shocking line in his letter to Kim.
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” the president explained.
Many observers have long suspected that if talks failed, the most likely result would be military conflict.
At this time, it remains unclear how North Korea will choose to respond to the cancellation of talks.
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