North Korea's official news agency, KCNA, described Trump's threat as a "load of nonsense". Everyone on the U.S. government is on the same page, making it clear to Pyongyang what they can get away with and what will be met with a United States response.
As for whether the USA would return to talks with North Korea, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "The secretary has talked about this a lot".
"I will tell you this, North Korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble in this world, okay?" he added.
"It's a very big decision for me", said Trump.
Trump dismissed the notion that his administration was delivering mixed messages and said Washington remained open to negotiations.
Without a broader overarching strategy to get North Korea to negotiate the denuclearization of the peninsula, war talk may just reinforce Kim's grip on the regime.
His comments came after Pyongyang said it was making plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the US Pacific territory of Guam. Public statements are especially important signaling, because the United States doesn't have a direct line of communication with North Korea.
"And they should be. because things will happen to them like they never thought possible".
Even if Mr. Trump's provocative remarks were part of a deliberate strategy for ratcheting up pressure on North Korea - and on China, which as the North's main food and fuel supplier has more influence on it than any other nation - they would be at odds with the measured approach of his predecessors.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated in recent weeks after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.
Last month, Pyongyang carried out its first two successful ICBM launches, the first - described by Kim as a gift to "American bastards" - showing it could reach Alaska, and the second extending its range even further, with some experts suggesting NY could be vulnerable. "Therefore, it can not be ruled out that the North may translate this plan into reality".
The unusually detailed statement said the four missiles would overfly the Japanese prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi.
In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the three-year-long Korean War. But if an intercept were attempted and failed in any way, it would undermine the effectiveness of the United States' ballistic missile defense system.
North Korea, no stranger to bluffing, frequently uses extremely bellicose rhetoric with warnings of military action to keep its adversaries on their heels.
But the statement raised worries amid threats from both sides.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday echoed Trump's strong language, saying North Korea needs to "cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people". What nuclear weapons does for North Korea is it's essentially a military game changer. "I'll tell you why". The report did not mention any threat of the use of nuclear missiles near Guam. It's also unclear how reliable North Korea's missiles would be against such a distant target, but no one was writing off the danger completely.
Guam hosts about 7,000 military personnel on two bases. North Korea is believed to have missiles that could reach Guam, but it's unclear how reliable they are.