North Korea has said it is considering carrying out a missile attack on the US Pacific territory of Guam.
The state-run news agency KCNA said Pyongyang was “carefully examining” a plan to strike the island, which is home to a US military base.
Options it said were being considered in order to “send a stern warning” to the United States. North Korea says its plan to attack Guam will be put into practice at any moment when leader Kim Jong-un makes a decision.
It comes just hours after President Trump used his most incendiary language yet in warning North Korea to stop threatening the US.
“He (Kim Jong-un) has been very threatening beyond normal statements. As I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
The US military base on Guam includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group.
The island’s governor Eddie Calvo has sought to reassure the population, saying there is no change in the threat level from North Korea. But he adds, defences are prepared.
“An attack or threat on Guam is a threat or attack on the United States. They have said America will be defended. And I also want to remind the national media that Guam is American soil. We have 200,000 Americans in Guam and the Marianas. We are not just a military installation,” he said.
As tensions escalate, The Washington Post reported on a US intelligence assesment that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.
Pyongyang is smarting over the UN Security Council’s unanimous decision to impose new sanctions over its continued missile tests that could slash the county’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.
Leader Kim Jong-un has made no secret of plans to develop a nuclear- tipped missile able to strike the United States and has ignored international calls to halt the programme. He claims his country’s intercontinental ballistic missiles are a legitimate means of defense against perceived US hostility.