North Korea is considering plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury", confirmed North leaders on Wednesday.
Pyongyang said it was "carefully examining" a plan to strike Guam, an island of around 162,000 in the western Pacific and the site of a U.S. military base that hosts a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group.
A Korean People's Army (KPA) spokesman, in a statement carried by state-run KCNA news agency, said the plan would be put into practice at any moment once leader Kim Jong Un makes a decision.
Washington has warned it is ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programmes but that it prefers global diplomatic action, including sanctions. The United States military flew two B-1B bombers over Guam this week alongside the South Korean and Japanese militaries as a show of force directed toward North Korea.
"Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, under the command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined their counterparts from the Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces in sequenced bilateral missions," a Pacific Air Forces press release said.
North Korea 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 its nuclear and missile programmes.
The United States has remained technically at war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.