North Korea did not back down after President Donald Trump issued his threat Tuesday, but instead countered with its own increased rhetoric. State media said the North Korean regime was ready to attack the U.S. territory of Guam in a pre-emptive strike.
Earlier Tuesday Trump said angrily, "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.”
"He has been very threatening, beyond a normal state," the president added, apparently referring to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, "and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before. Thank you."
The statement made during a briefing in New Jersey on the U.S. opioid crisis was clearly meant to deter North Korean aggression, but instead they responded with their own threat.
The Korean People's Army released a statement to the regime's state-run KCNA news agency on Wednesday saying that they were reviewing "military options to form attack positions" around the U.S. territory of Guam in order to "send a stern warning" to the United States.
According to Reuters, a different military spokesman said a pre-emptive operation would be implemented if the U.S. "showed signs of provocation."
The escalation of hostility came after a report from U.S. intelligence agencies that the "hermit kingdom" had developed a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a missile.
This followed upon a series of missile tests by North Korea that were forbidden and widely criticized by the international community. President Trump tried to leverage our influence with China in an attempt to force North Korea to back down, but that tactic appears to have failed, even by Trump's own admission. The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously this weekend on a U.S. drafted resolution to increase the sanctions on North Korea dramatically.
In April, Trump admitted that a "major major conflict" with North Korea was possible, though he would use very diplomatic option to avoid it.