President Trump said Friday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "will regret it fast" if he takes any military action against the U.S. territory of Guam.
"If he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast," Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
He warned that the U.S. will take action against Mr. Kim's regime "if he utters one threat, in the form of an overt threat - which, by the way, he has been uttering for years, and his family has been uttering for years."
Mr. Trump tweeted earlier in the day that the U.S. military was "locked and loaded" in preparation for any aggressive actions by North Korea.
He told reporters that the meaning of his tweet was "pretty obvious."
"I hope they are going to fully understand the gravity of what I said, and what I said is what I mean," Mr. Trump said of the North Korean regime. "So hopefully they will understand exactly what I said and the meaning of those words. Those words are very, very easy to understand."
Mr. Kim threatened this week to fire missiles at Guam later this month, after the U.S. sponsored a resolution imposing new economic sanctions on Pyongyang over its missile and nuclear weapons programs.
Asked about reported "back channel" negotiations between U.S. and North Korean diplomats in New York, Mr. Trump demurred.
"We don't want to talk about progress, we don't want to talk about back channels," he said., "We want to talk about a country that has misbehaved for many many years, decades actually, through numerous administrations and they didn't want to take on the issue and I had no choice but to take it on, and I'm taking it on."
He added, "We'll either be very, very successful quickly or we're going to be very, very successful in a different way, quickly."
Asked about German Chancellor Angela Merkel's comment Friday that she does not see "a military solution" to the standoff, Mr. Trump said, "maybe she's speaking for Germany."
"Let her speak for Germany," he said. "She's a friend of mine, she's a very good person, a very good woman. She's certainly not referring to the United States, that I can tell you."
Mr. Trump dismissed criticism that his rhetoric is raising the danger level of a potential confrontation.
"My critics are only saying that because it's me," the president said. "We have tens of millions of people in this country that are so happy with what I am saying, because they say finally we have a president that's sticking up for our nation and frankly, sticking up for our friends and our allies. And this man [Mr. Kim] will not get away with what he is doing, believe me."