Following Trump’s warning that any threat to the US would be met with “fire and fury”, North Korea said it is now considering a missile strike on US Pacific territory Guam.
Pyongyang said they were “carefully examining” a strike to Guam, which is 2,100 miles away. They threatened to create an “enveloping fire” around the territory.
The dramatic rise in tensions has led to many warnings to The White House from analysts and US officials to not become engaged in a slanging match with North Korea.
A spokesman for the Korean people’s army said in a statement that a plan would be put into practice as soon as the order was issued by Kim Jong-un.
“The KPA strategic force is 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 in order to contain the US major military bases on Guam, including the Anderson air force base,”
The US should cease its “reckless military provocation” against North Korea to avoid such a reaction, he added.
Eddie Calvo, the governor of Guam, has attempted to reassure residents saying there was “no threat” but they are “prepared for any eventuality”.
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said “I think the comments are not helpful in an environment that is very ten” over Trump’s strong statement to North Korea.
“I think we are seeing reaction from North Korea that indicates that kind of comment is more likely to escalate rather than settle things.”
Robert Kelly, associate professor at Pusan National University, played down the likelihood of a military airstrike to Guam.
“There’s rhetoric on both sides – it’s like two bullies in the playground yelling at each other,” he said.
“I think the North Koreans just pulled the Guam threat out of the air. Sure, there’s some sort of rough plan on a shelf somewhere, because Guam is an important American reinforcement point, but I don’t think there is anything immediately in the offing.
“They just needed to say something in response – you poke the North Koreans in the eye and they poke you back.”