North Korea details Guam missile plan, calls Trump's warning a 'load of nonsense'

North Korea says its plan to fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam will soon be ready, as a war of words with Washington intensifies

10 August 2017, 7:59am
US military bases cover about a quarter of the island of Guam
US military bases cover about a quarter of the island of Guam
North Korea has defied threats of “fire and fury” from US President Donald Trump, deriding his warning as a “load of nonsense” and announcing a detailed plan to launch missiles aimed at the waters off the coast of the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The scheme to target the island, a key US military stronghold, was intended to "signal a crucial warning" as "only absolute force" would have an effect on the US leader, the North said.

“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” a statement attributed to General Kim Rak Gyom, the head of the country’s strategic forces, declared, referring to Trump. The general outlined a plan to carry out a demonstration launch of four intermediate-range missiles that would fly over Japan and then land in the sea around Guam, “enveloping” the island.

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimani, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures of Japan,” the statement said. “They will fly for 3,356.7 km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40km away from Guam.”

Guam, more than 3,000 km to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people and a US Navy base that includes a submarine squadron and a Coast Guard group, and an air base.

The declaration came after Trump boasted on Twitter that America's nuclear arsenal was "far stronger and more powerful than ever before".

Earlier, Trump stunned the world with a bold-faced message to leader Kim Jong-Un that appeared to borrow from Pyongyang's own rhetorical arsenal, saying the North faced "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

North Korea's apparently rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the US mainland has fuelled tensions that erupted into a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang this week, unnerving regional powers and global investors.