N Korea’s reply to ‘fire & fury’ ...‘considering missile strike on US Guam base’

| | Seoul/Washington

North Korea on Wednesday said that it is considering strikes near US strategic military installations in Guam with its intermediate range ballistic missiles, state news agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

The threat came hours after US President Donald Trump threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury” over its missile programme and days after the UN Security Council levied new sanctions on North Korea over its growing nuclear arsenal. 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 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.

Trump’s warning followed a Washington Post report that quoted a Defence Intelligence Agency analysis as saying officials think North Korea now has “nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery” — including in its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The progress suggests North Korea is further along the path to having a deployable nuclear

missile than had previously been acknowledged.

Experts had until last month said it would take another two or three years for North Korea to develop a nuclear-tipped ICBM. But that calculus suddenly changed after Pyongyang last month tested two ICBMs — the first time North Korean leader Kim had demonstrated such a capability.

The remarks mark a sharp rise in rhetoric from the United States. Previous administration comments have focused on finding non-military solutions.

North Korea has vowed that tough new UN sanctions agreed over the weekend would not stop it from developing its nuclear arsenal, rejecting talks and angrily threatening retaliation against the United States.

President Donald Trump on Tuesdat had said answer any more threats by North Korea with “fire and fury”, remarks that followed Pyongyang saying that it is considering strikes near US strategic military installations in Guam island with its intermediate range ballistic missiles.

“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. He (Kim Jong-Un) has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement,” Trump told reporters at his vacation home in New Jersey on Tuesday. He was responding to questions on the North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

“As said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” he said.

The remarks came amid reports that the nuclear-armed country is coming close to obtaining an atomic weapon that can strike the US. Media reports said North Korea has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

Meanhwile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said President Donald Trump was simply using language “that Kim Jong-Un would understand” when he gave Pyongyang an apocalyptic warning of “fire and fury” over its weapons programme.

“What the President is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-Un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” he said.



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