US President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday (August 30) to say "talking is not the answer" in dealing with North Korea – an alarming message that triggered both fury and fear on Twitter. Just hours after the US military said it successfully conducted a new missile defence test off the coast of Hawaii, Trump accused North Korea of taking "extortion money" from the US for the past 25 years.
"The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years," Trump tweeted. "Talking is not the answer!"
The president's tweet came after the Pentagon confirmed earlier this week that North Korea had reignited tensions by firing a ballistic missile early Tuesday that soared over Japan before crashing into the Pacific Ocean.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un described the missile launch as a"meaningful prelude to containing" the US Pacific territory of Guam, the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted him as saying.
With hours of Trump's post, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis seemed to break with the president's stance saying: "We're never out of diplomatic solutions."
"We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations, and our interests", Mattis said referring to South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-Moo.
In a statement from the White House, Trump said "all options" are on the table with regards to North Korea.
Trump's remarks swiftly sparked furious condemnation on Twitter with many describing them as "dangerous" and "provocative" with one person saying "war is not a joke."
"If talking is not the answer, then what is? The death of millions? Nuclear fallout for decades? World War III?" one Twitter user asked. "You have to think things through before you tweet. Doesn't Kelly you that?"
One Twitter user wrote: "Talking is the ONLY answer that doesn't end in millions of deaths, ME INCLUDED! You tweeting this is like a slap in the face. It's like you're condemning me to death."
Another tweeted: "As a foreigner living on Japanese soil I strongly feel the same way. Americans can bark all they want, they are still at a safe distance."