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New reports suggesting that North Korea can now fit a nuclear bomb on a missile which can strike the United States has escalated tensions between North Korea and the United States and raises the potential of a military conflict.

In response to the Washington Post report, President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened North Korea “with fire and fury.” In response to Trump’s threats, the North Korean army on Wednesday said in a statement that it was studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles.

It’s time to de-escalate this dangerous war of words before a military conflict becomes reality.

 Trump should follow the example set by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who is urging calm.

In fact, Tillerson is projecting a more measured and presidential approach to the conflict than his boss, the nation’s commander in chief.

Tlllerson said Americans should sleep soundly: “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 said Washington wasn’t seeking confrontation and voiced his hope North Korea would “choose a different pathway,” one leading to a dialogue.

However Trump’s threat to strike North Korea “with fire and fury” is making a dangerous situation worse.

“North Korea is a real threat, but the president’s unhinged reaction suggests he might consider using American nuclear weapons,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s leading Democrat, expressed concern over Trump’s “bombastic” comments at a time high-level dialogue with North Korea is needed.

 If North Korea ignores Trump’s threats and conducts more missile launches or nuclear tests, Trump will now be under added pressure to deliver a forceful American response.

The recent inflammatory rhetoric raises the potential for an accidental conflict.

This is not a time for bellicose words from volatile leaders that will escalate tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

Now is a time for careful language if only to prevent a minor incident touching off a major conflict.


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