SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea will develop a plan by mid-August to launch four intermediate range missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam before presenting it to leader Kim Jong Un who will make a decision on whether to proceed, the North’s state media said on Thursday.
The unusually detailed report on the attack plan marked a further escalation in tensions between Pyongyang and Washington after U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea earlier this week it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.
North Korea’s official news agency KCNA described Trump’s threat as a “load of nonsense”.
“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” it said of Trump, adding that it will keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the United States.
The North Korean army is developing a plan “in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the United States,” the KCNA report said. Guam is home to about 163,000 people and a U.S. military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group.
“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA (Korean People’s Army) will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan,” the report said, citing General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the KPA.
“They will fly 3,356.7 km (2,085.8 miles) for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam.”
Tensions surged this week after Trump’s warning to the isolated state to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
North Korea carried out two nuclear bomb tests last year and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. Trump has said he will not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also issued a stark warning to North Korea on Wednesday, telling Pyongyang it should stop any actions that would lead to the “end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
Editing by Lincoln Feast