North Korea has announced a detailed plan to fire missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam soon as a "crucial warning," adding that "only absolute force can work" on U.S. President Donald Trump.
General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA), was quoted by the state-run news agency KCNA as saying that Pyongyang was planning to launch four Hwasong-12 rockets that would fly over Japan and hit the water around 30 to 40 kilometers away from Guam in the western Pacific.
Guam, located in the Pacific Ocean some 3,400 kilometers from the Korean Peninsula, is home to a U.S. military base and about 160,000 people.
Kim said the plan would be finalized by mid-August and that the KPA would then await the orders of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Kim also said that Trump had "let out a load of nonsense about 'fire and fury,' failing to grasp the ongoing grave situation."
He was referring to comments made by the Trump on August 8, in which he vowed to respond to further threats from North Korea "with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
"Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him," Kim said.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later said he believed Trump was "sending a strong message with language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language."
And in tweets on August 9, Trump touted the strength of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and added, "Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!"
South Korea's military on August 10 warned Pyongyang that it would face "the allies' strong and resolute retaliation" in case of an attack.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Pyongyang's threat to fire missiles near Guam was "absolutely unacceptable."
Suga also called on the North "to comply with sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council [last week] and exercise self-restraint over further provocations."
North Korea carried out its second intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 28, later claiming that it now had the capability to reach all of the U.S. mainland.
In response, the United Nations imposed its harshest sanctions yet on Pyongyang. They are expected to cut North Korea's export revenues by one-third.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa