Hours after US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that any threat would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”, North Korea said on Wednesday it is considering plans for a missile attack on the US Pacific territory of Guam.
The heightened tensions between the two nations rattled global financial markets and prompted warnings from US officials and analysts not to engage in rhetorical slanging matches with North Korea.
Pyongyang said it's "now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12," according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The plan will be finalised "and will be put into practice in a multi-concurrent and consecutive way any moment once Kim Jong Un, supreme commander of the nuclear force of the DPRK, makes a decision," it added.
The threat came after Trump warned North Korea on Tuesday that he would respond to any threats "with fire and fury like the world has never seen," following reports that Pyongyang has developed miniaturized nuclear warheads that can be mounted on a ballistic missile.
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump said to reporters at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Efe reported.
"He has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement," Trump said regarding North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "As I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."
Trump did not elaborate on his point and made no other specific remarks, but his comments come shortly after the daily Washington Post reported data from a new report by the US Defense Intelligence Agency about North Korea.
According to this DIA report, which was finalized last month, North Korea has managed to produce a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can be placed onto one of its ballistic missiles.
The document obtained by the Washington daily said that the intelligence community found that North Korea has produced nuclear arms that it can deliver many thousands of miles via ICBMs.
In addition, Pyongyang on Tuesday threatened to take serious action following the imposition of sanctions last Saturday by the UN Security Council, a measure North Korea called "illegal" and a "terrorist act."
The UN sanctions come in response to the first intercontinental ballistic missile test in North Korea's history on July 4, a test that was a milestone and was followed by the launching of a second ICBM on July 28.