The DPRK has said it is "carefully examining" the U.S. Pacific colony of Guam, hours after President Donald Trump warned the country any threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury.”
A Korean People's Army spokesperson said in a statement carried by state-run KCNA news agency the U.S. frequently flies powerful bombers from the Guam's air base to the Korean Peninsula to stage war drills in a bid to strike strategic bases in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
“This grave situation requires the KPA to closely watch Guam, the outpost and beachhead for invading the DPRK, and necessarily take practical actions of significance to neutralize it,” the statement said.
It added that the plan would be put into practice at any moment, once leader Kim Jong Un made a decision, which involves firing medium- to long-range rockets at Guam, which is home to a strategic outpost of the U.S. military that includes a submarine squadron, an air base and a Coast Guard unit.
Guam Governor Eddie Calvo dismissed the threat and said the island was prepared for "any eventuality" with strategically placed defenses. He said he had been in touch with the White House and there was no change in the threat level.
The island was captured and occupied by the U.S. during the Spanish-American war of 1898 and has since remained a U.S. colony with no rights to vote for U.S. president and just one member of the U.S. House of Representatives that has no voting rights.
The Chamorro people make up nearly 40 percent of the population of Guam, which is part of the Mariana Islands, including a large Filipino population.
Guam has been occupied by foreign governments for over 400 years, including Spain and Japan and many of the island's people clamor for independence.
Trump issued his strongest warning yet to the DPRK Tuesday. "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, before landing in Guam, said Trump was trying to send a strong message and he doesn’t believe there’s any imminent threat.
“What we’re hopeful of is that this pressure campaign, which the entire world now has joined us in, and with the engagement of China and Russia, two of North Korea’s closest neighbors — that they can begin to persuade the regime that they needed to reconsider the current pathway they’re on and think about engaging in a dialogue about a different future,” Tillerson told reporters.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on the DPRK Saturday. China, its closest ally, has described the situation as "complex and sensitive," and urged calm and a return to talks.