Mr. Trump sustained the rhetoric, suggesting on Thursday that his earlier statement “wasn’t tough enough.”
On Friday, he said the United States military was “locked and loaded” should North Korea act “unwisely.”
The crisis has prompted a great deal of worry about a nuclear war. But The Times’s Interpreter columnists say there are reasons — five, to be exact — to believe that the threat is overstated.
Experts said there was little precedent for Mr. Trump’s language. Presidents who confronted problems with North Korea issued sharp warnings while in office, but their wording was carefully considered, and they also used diplomacy to try to defuse crises.
Mr. Trump’s aides said that Tuesday’s language had been ad-libbed.
William Perry, a former secretary of defense, spoke to “The Daily” podcast about his trip in 1999 to Pyongyang as an envoy for President Bill Clinton that was aimed at stopping the country’s nuclear development.
Writers across the political spectrum have responded to the developments.
The reaction from other countries
Some foreign leaders have urged both North Korea and the United States to tone down the bellicose language.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said on Friday that she was “convinced that a verbal escalation’’ would not help resolve the conflict. Sergey V. Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, urged the United States to “take the first step away from the dangerous line.”
Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, denounced North Korea, saying that Australia stands “shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States.”
China appeared to see an opening to present itself as the adult in the room and increase its regional influence. But even as the Trump administration pressed China to curb North Korea, Beijing raised another festering dispute on Friday, saying American naval operations in the South China Sea would only force it to deepen its military buildup there.
South Korea told its people that the White House had agreed not to do anything on the Korean Peninsula that would catch the South off guard.
Here’s a look at what happens if North Korean missiles do make it off the ground and head toward Guam.
People who live on Guam, and the nearby Northern Mariana Islands, have talked about finding themselves suddenly in the cross hairs.
The financial sector has been rattled, and stocks were driven down as investors sought havens.
What happens next?
Mr. Trump’s advisers are divided on how to proceed, and it is not clear what Mr. Kim will do, either.
The 33-year old North Korean ruler, once dismissed as a figurehead, is emerging as a powerful leader and a nuclear threat, traits that were highlighted in a Times video profile.
Still, some supporters of Mr. Trump say he would be justified in launching a pre-emptive strike as an act of self-defense. Others say that, under international law, this would be deeply questionable.
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