Tillerson plays down threat from DPRK after Trump's "fire and fury" warning

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-09 23:50:58|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday played down the threat from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), telling Americans to "sleep well at night," following an exchange of fierce rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.

"Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours," Tillerson told reporters on the way back to the United States from his Asian trip.

"I think Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days," Tillerson added.

The top U.S. diplomat's remarks came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump issued a warning to the DPRK that appeared to threaten a nuclear war with the Asian country.

"North Korea (DPRK) best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump said at his golf resort in New Jersey.

In response, the DPRK warned of preemptive strikes against the U.S. military base of Guam in the Pacific.

Defending Trump's comments, Tillerson said the U.S. president felt it necessary to issue a very strong statement directly to the DPRK.

"But I think what the president was just reaffirming is the United States has the capability to fully defend itself from any attack and defend our allies, and we will do so," Tillerson added.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the DPRK has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

The conclusion was made in a confidential assessment completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency, the newspaper said, citing anonymous U.S. intelligence officials.

"The IC (intelligence community) assesses North Korea (DPRK) has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile)-class missiles," the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Post.

The assessment's broad conclusions were verified by two U.S. officials familiar with the document, said The Washington Post, adding that the development signals that the DPRK has crossed "a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power."