North Korea said its plan to fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam will soon be ready, as a war of words with the US intensifies.
North Korea state media said Hwasong-12 rockets would pass over Japan and land in the sea about 30 kilometres from Guam, if the plan was approved by its leader Kim Jong-un.
It denounced President Donald Trump‘s warnings of “fire and fury” and said the US leader was “bereft of reason”.
The US has warned the north its actions could mean the end of its regime.
US Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis said North Korea would be “grossly overmatched” in any war against the US and its allies.
“The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“While our state department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth,” he said.
The north first announced on Wednesday that it had been drawing up plans for a missile strike against Guam, a pacific island which is home to US military bases, strategic bombers and about 163,000 people.
A later statement carried by state media said the military would “finally complete the plan” by mid-August and send it to leader Kim Jong-un for his approval.
State news agency KCNA, quoting Army Chief General Kim Rak Gyom said “The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi [Kochi] Prefectures of Japan.
“They will fly 3,356.7km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30-40km away from Guam.”
Meanwhile Japanese Defence Minister, Itsunori Onodera said Japan could legally intercept a North Korean missile headed for Guam because such a move would threaten Japan’s existence as a nation.