North Korea considering missile strikes on US territory of Guam
There appears to be no sign of de-escalation of tensions between the US and North Korea. North Korea's military said it is considering launching missile strikes against the US Pacific territory of Guam, an important regional base that houses American strategic bombers. The statement came hours after US President Donald Trump threatened the regime with "fire and fury."
North Korea successfully tests ICBM, Trump calls it "reckless"
On July 29, North Korea claimed it successfully tested a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), calling it a "stern warning" for the US. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed the entire US was within striking range, thanks to the test. The restrictive regime had also tested an ICBM three weeks ago. US President Donald Trump called the latest test a "reckless and dangerous action."
What Trump said
Initially, North Korea threatened "physical" retaliation against fresh UN sanctions. Trump responded by saying: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen."
North Korea: US signs of "provocation" may trigger Guam attack
The North Korean military responded to Trump's statement saying it was "carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam" if the US showed signs of "provocation." This entails launching its indigenously developed medium-to-long-range Hwasong-12 missiles. The statement could be a possible response to both Trump's statement and US military drills being held in Guam.
Trump's statement met with disapproval from Democrats and Republicans
Republican Senator John McCain said he took "exceptions" with Trump's statement saying "great leaders… don't threaten unless they're ready to act and I'm not sure President Trump is ready to act." "President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments," said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. Democratic Representative Eliot Engel said Trump undermined America's credibility "by drawing an absurd red line."
Expert: Trump's statement is "reckless and counterproductive"
"It is dangerous and reckless and counterproductive for Donald Trump to threaten the annihilation of North Korea," said Daryl Kimball, the head of the US-based Arms Control Association. He added: "What we need is a dialogue to reduce tension and avoid catastrophic miscalculation. We are currently on the road to a conflict and we have to get to the off-ramp."
Reports: North Korea has developed crucial miniaturized warhead
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports in the media citing US intelligence officials suggest that Pyongyang has developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead. This marks an important milestone as the warheads can be placed inside ballistic missiles. The reports also suggested that Pyongyang is also developing nuclear weapons capable of reaching America at a faster than expected rate.