The Associated PressSEOUL (AP) — North Korea and the United States traded escalating threats, with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening Pyongyang “with fire and fury like the world has never seen” and the North’s military claiming Wednesday it was examining its plans for attacking Guam.
Despite regular North Korean threats against Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific about 3,400 kilometers from the Korean Peninsula, it is extremely unlikely that Pyongyang would risk the assured annihilation of its revered leadership with a preemptive attack on U.S. citizens.
Still, the competing threats and Trump’s use of North Korea-style rhetoric — Pyongyang has long vowed to reduce Seoul to a “sea of fire” — raise the already high animosity and heighten worries that a miscalculation might spark conflict between the nuclear-armed nations.
Pyongyang ‘considering attack on Guam’
The North Korean army said in a statement distributed by the state-run news agency that it is studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles. The statement described Andersen Air Force Base on Guam as a “beachhead” for a potential U.S. invasion of North Korea it needed to neutralize. It was unlikely the North’s threat was a direct response to Trump’s comments to the camera at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which deals with matters related to North Korea, said the North’s army statement hurts efforts to improve inter-Korean relations. Ministry spokesman Baek Tai Hyun said Seoul remains committed to both dialogue and sanctions for solving the North Korean nuclear problem and called for Pyongyang to stop its provocations.
“North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States,” said a stern-looking Trump, seated with his arms crossed and with his wife beside him. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
“He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
The remarks appeared scripted, with Trump glancing at a paper in front of him. They evoked President Harry Truman’s announcement of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, in which he warned of “a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”Speech