President Trump warned North Korea on Tuesday that the U.S. will meet Pyongyang "with fire and fury" if the aggressor continues to advance its nuclear weapons program or responds with physical action to recent economic sanctions levied by the UN.
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," the president told reporters during an event at his Bedminster, N.J. golf club.
"They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump said, later repeating the threat.
Trump's tough talk came hours after North Korea escalated its criticism of the U.S. and threatened to conduct another missile test in response to sanctions the UN Security Council unanimously approved last Saturday. Pyongyang test-fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile late last month that some experts said was capable of reaching U.S. soil.
"Packs of wolves are coming in attack to strangle a nation," read a statement issued Tuesday by the state-sanctioned Korean Central News Agency. "They should be mindful that the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea's] strategic steps accompanied by physical action will be taken mercilessly with the mobilization of all its national strength."
Trump has refused to rule out military action against North Korea, which escalated its threats against the U.S. earlier this week instead of agreeing to halt its nuclear program and meet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the negotiating table.
"We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table," North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong-ho said Monday. "Neither shall we flinch even an inch from the road to bolstering up the nuclear forces chosen by ourselves unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the U.S. against the DPRK are fundamentally eliminated."
A National Security Council official declined to comment on Trump's latest threat, noting that the administration is "keeping all options on the table."