North Korea has dismissed Donald Trump’s warning of “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States as a “load of nonsense”, and outlined plans to launch four missiles towards the US territory of Guam.
As the war of words between Pyongyang and Washington intensifies, North Korea’s state run news agency KCNA said the preparations for the strike could be ready in days.
The report said Hwasong-12 rockets would be fired directly over Japan and would land in the sea roughly 30km (17 miles from Guam).
The plan is yet to be officially approved by Kim Jong Un, but according to General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army, the plans will be complete by “mid- August”, KCNA reports.
Tensions between the two countries have reached a nadir after the US discovered North Korea’s nuclear missile technology had advanced faster than anticipated.
The news prompted Mr Trump to warn on Tuesday that any further action by the country would be met by “fire and fury and frankly, power, the likes of which the world has never seen before”.
On Wednesday, North Korea said it had the island territory of Guam in its sights and branded Trump “bereft of reason”.
“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” a report by the North's state-run KCNA news agency said of Mr Trump.
Guam is home to about 163,000 people and a US military base that includes a submarine squadron, an air base and a Coast Guard group.
However, Masao Okonogi, professor emeritus at Japan's Keio University, told Reuters the North Korean reports suggested Pyongyang was issuing a warning or advance notice of changes to its missile testing programme rather than threatening an attack.
"I believe this is a message saying they plan to move missile tests from the Sea of Japan to areas around Guam," he said.
"By making this advance notice, they are also sending a tacit message that what they are going to do is not an actual attack."
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