KU professor: US and North Korea far from nuclear confrontation for now

President Trump issued Pyongyang a stern warning of 'fire and fury'

Marc LaVoie
August 09, 2017 - 7:54 am
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is urging calm and says Americans should have "no concerns" after North Korea and President Donald Trump traded fiery threats. 

Tuesday the president said North Korea could face "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if the North's threats of violence continue. 

Tillerson insisted he doesn't believe there is "any imminent threat,"  and said that "Americans should sleep well at night."

University of Kansas political science professor Burdett Loomis said the president is known to speak quickly, with little forethought.

"He hears something on TV, he reacts pretty quickly, and then that becomes the news of the day," Loomis said. "I think we'll just have to do our usual, take a deep breath and ask, what did Donald Trump mean, what are the implications?" 

Loomis said he does not believe the US is close to a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, but he hopes both sides town down the rhetoric.

"Certainly it's a more frought situation that it was six months ago, a year ago or two years ago," Loomis said.

US intelligence officials now say North Korea has developed the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead that could fit in an intercontinental missile.

Meanwhile, North Korea is threatening preemptive military strikes against the US. 

State-run media are threatening a missile strike on the US territory of Guam in response to any sign of an impending attack. 

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