NORTH Korea dismissed warnings by US President Donald Trump that it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States and outlined detailed plans yesterday for a missile strike near the US Pacific territory of Guam.
Experts in South Korea said the plans unveiled by the North ratcheted up risks significantly, since Washington was likely to view any missile aimed at its territory as a provocation, even if launched as a test.
North Korea’s apparently rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the US mainland has fueled tensions that erupted into a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang this week.
North Korea said it was finalizing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land 30-40 kilometers from Guam, adding detail to a plan first announced on Wednesday.
Guam, a tropical island more than 3,000km to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people and a US Navy installation that includes a submarine squadron, a Coast Guard group and an air base.
As announced by North Korea, the planned path of the missiles would cross some of the world’s busiest sea and air traffic routes.
The North Korean army would complete its plans in mid-August, ready for leader Kim Jong Un’s order, state-run KCNA news agency reported, citing General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army.
“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan,” the report said. “They will fly 3,356.7km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40km away from Guam.”
While North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its allies, the report was unusual in its detail. It follows two successful tests of an intercontinental missile by the isolated state in July and a series of other missile tests.
Major airlines that fly over the region, however, said they had so far made no plans to change flight paths.
“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” KCNA said of Trump. It said Trump’s comments on Tuesday that any threats by North Korea would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” were “a load of nonsense.”