North Korea has issued a fresh threat against Guam, claiming a “salvo of missiles” will be unleashed on its waters if Donald Trump continues his “provocations”.
The small US island territory in the Pacific is a strategic hub and the North Korean (DPRK) government believe it could be used as an “advance base” for a US invasion of their country.
The DPRK also cited Mr Trump’s frequent Twitter outbursts as a key incitement. Tensions between the two countries have been mounting in recent months, following a series of missiles tests by North Korea.
A commentary written by Kim Kwang Hak, a researcher at the DPRK’s Institute for American Studies, said: “We have already warned several times that we will take counteractions for self-defence including a salvo of missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam, an advance base for invading the DPRK, where key US bases are located, as the US has resorted to military actions in sensitive regions, making the waters off the Korean peninsula and in the Pacific restless.”
US military shows of force in the region have become more common. This week, US B-1B strategic bombers flew over South Korea with fighter jet escorts from the allied nation.
Jim Schoff, a former senior Pentagon adviser for East Asia policy, told the AP the B-1B flights were not just intended to signal US resolve, but to practice making the long flight from Guam where they are based, and "to get a feel for what kind of air defences North Korea has and how we see them react".
Mr Kim’s commentary referred to the President’s social media habits and said: “What should not be overlooked is that such military moves have been conducted at a time when the Trump group posted on Twitter such letters reading that the US failed to handle North Korea for the past 25 years and only one thing will prove effective, while frequently hinting at ‘military option’ backed by such rubbish as ‘a calm before a storm’ and ‘total destruction’."
The comments came just days after Mr Trump said "only one thing will work" with North Korea and referred to "the calm before the storm".
The DPRK commentary also said the US actions justified the continuation of its nuclear weapons programme, which has been widely condemned by the international community.
“Its senseless military provocations make us keenly realise once again that we were quite right when we decided to bolster the nuclear deterrence for self-defence in every way, and harden our conviction that we have to keep to this path forever,” it said.
Mr Kim added that the US military manoeuvres would make it more likely that North Korea would react aggressively.
“The US military action hardens our determination that the US should be tamed with fire and lets us take our hand closer to "trigger" for taking the toughest countermeasure,” the commentary said.
Additional reporting by agencies.
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