The White House faces a dearth of options to peacefully rein in an aggressive Pyongyang after the rogue nation warned late on Tuesday that it is seriously considering striking Guam.
In a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency, the North Korean army said it was "carefully examining an operational plan" for targeting the U.S. island territory with "enveloping fire" using the medium-to-long-range Hwasong-12 ballistic rocket.
If Washington wished to avoid military action, it should stop "recklessly" provoking Pyongyang, a separate statement from another military spokesperson said, according to KCNA.
The threat comes on the heels of a sharp warning from President Donald Trump earlier in the day. Pyongyang "will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before," Trump had said following a Washington Post report that claimed the pariah state was capable of building a miniaturized nuclear weapon.
Over the weekend, the United Nations hit North Korea with
Guam is far removed from the U.S. mainland. Credit: Google Maps
So far, Trump has responded to escalating North Korean threats by flying bomber jets over the Korean Peninsula, blasting China for failing to contain the renegade nation and testing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense defense system.
Recent comments from U.S. officials have indicated frustration with diplomatic initiatives, implying a growing inclination for military operations.
In a recent statement, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said "the time for talk is over." Following North Korea's July 4 launch, Haley warned that military procedures remained on the table. If required, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces stood ready to respond with "rapid, lethal, and overwhelming" force, General Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy said in a statement.