MANILA May 24 U.S. President Donald Trump told
his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear
submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York
Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his
handling of sensitive information.
Trump has said "a major, major conflict" with North Korea is
possible because of its nuclear and missile programmes and that
all options are on the table but that he wants to resolve the
North Korea has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a
nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States,
saying the programme is necessary to counter U.S. aggression.
Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Washington
had "a lot of firepower over there", according to the New York
Times, which quoted a transcript of an April 29 call between the
"We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two
nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them at all," the
newspaper quoted Trump as telling Duterte, based on the
The report was based on a Philippine transcript of the call
that was circulated on Tuesday under a "confidential" cover
sheet by the Americas division of the Philippine Department of
In a show of force, the United States has sent the
nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to waters off
the Korean peninsula, where it joined the USS Michigan, a
nuclear submarine that docked in South Korea in late April.
According to the Times, a senior Trump administration
official in Washington, who was not authorised to publicly
discuss the call and insisted on anonymity, confirmed the
transcript was an accurate representation of the call between
the two leaders.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have
said Trump discussed intelligence about Islamic State with
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador
Sergei Kislyak at talks in the Oval Office this month, raising
questions about Trump's handling of secrets.
Trump also praised Duterte for doing an "unbelievable job on
the drug problem", the New York Times reported, a subject that
has drawn much criticism in the West.
Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have
been killed in the Philippines since Duterte took office on June
30. Police say about one-third of the victims were shot by
officers in self-defence during legitimate operations.
(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Nick Macfie)