Washington, United States | AFP | President Donald Trump issued an apocalyptic warning to North Korea on Tuesday, saying it faces “fire and fury” over its missile program, hours after US media reported Pyongyang has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” said Trump, who was speaking from his golf club in New Jersey. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Hours later, North Korea said it was considering strikes near US strategic military installations in Guam with its intermediate range ballistic missiles, state news agency KCNA reported.
Pyongyang is “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.”
The plan could be put into motion “any moment” once North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un makes a decision, the KCNA report said.
It was not immediately clear whether the threat was in response to Trump’s statements.
The Washington Post had quoted a Defense Intelligence Agency analysis as saying officials think North Korea now has “nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery” — including in its intercontinental ballistic missiles — making it a potent threat against neighbors and possibly the United States.
The Pentagon did not comment on the story, but the Post said two US officials familiar with the analysis had verified the assessment’s broad conclusions, and CNN said it had confirmed the report.
– Nuclear threat –
The development 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.
That calculus suddenly changed after Pyongyang in July tested two ICBMs — the first time Kim had demonstrated such a capability.
The first of these trials, which Kim described as a gift to “American bastards,” showed the rocket had the potential range to hit Alaska.
The second rocket tested flew even longer, with some experts even suggesting New York could be vulnerable.
Trump said Kim “has been very threatening beyond a normal state.”
“As I said, they will be met with the fire and fury and, frankly, power,” he told reporters.
The remarks mark a sharp rise in rhetoric from the United States. Administration comments have generally focused on finding non-military solutions.