North Korea said on Wednesday it is considering plans for a missile strike in the US Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after President Donald Trump has said in Pyongyang that any threat to the United States would fill “fire and fury “.
The sharp rise in tensions has shaken financial markets and prompted US authorities and analysts not to participate in rhetorical games with North Korea.
Pyongyang said it “carefully examined” a plan to reach Guam, home to about 1,63,000 people and a US military base that includes a submarine squad, an air base and a Coast Guard group.
A spokesman for the Korean People’s Army in a statement issued by the state news agency KCNA that the plan was implemented at any time, once the leader Kim Jong Un made a decision.
Governor of Guam, Eddie Calvo, dismissed the threat from the North and said that the island was prepared for “any eventuality” with strategically placed defenses.
He said he was in contact with the White House and that there was no change in the level of threat.
“Guam is a US plant … We are not just a military facility,” said M. Calvo in an online video message.
North Korea accused the United States of designing a “preemptive war”. In another statement, he said any plan to execute it would be filled with a “total war that would wipe out all enemy strongholds, including the United States.”
Washington has warned that it is willing to use force if necessary to stop North Korea’s nuclear and nuclear programs, but prefers global diplomatic action, including sanctions.
The UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday.
M. Trump however, has made every possible warning to North Korea in comments to the press in New Jersey on Tuesday.
“North Korea is more threatening to the United States, they will be welcomed with fire and fury as the world has never seen,” he said.
North Korea did not hide its plans to develop a nuclear missile capable of attacking the United States and ignored international calls to halt its nuclear and missile programs.
Pyongyang says its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are a legitimate means of defense against perceived hostility from the United States, including joint military exercises with South Korea.
US stocks declined slightly after Mr. Trump made no comment, while a measure of general compliance with stock market anxiety ended at its highest level in nearly a month.
The dollar index fell and the yen shelter strengthened against the US currency after North Korea’s response.
Asian stock markets tumbled, South Korea’s benchmark index fell 0.9% and the Nikkei in Japan, down 1.6%.
“Tensions continue to rise and eventually could become a black swan event that markets do not carefully consider”
Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, told Reuters Markets Forum.