Pyongyang on Thursday accused Donald Trump of having “lost his mind” and outraged in the confrontation with Washington by presenting a detailed plan to fire a missile salvo to the US territory of Guam , In the Pacific.
This plan, which is unusually precise, and which aims at a strategic outpost of American forces on the road to Asia, will constitute “a crucial warning to the United States”, warned the North. For in his opinion “only the absolute force” will have an effect on the American president.
This warning follows a threatening tweet from the White House leader claiming that the US nuclear arsenal is “stronger and stronger than ever.”
A few hours before, Donald Trump had stunned the international community by promising North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un “anger” and “fire”, a warning that seemed straight out of the oratorical repertory of Pyongyang.
This rhetorical war around Pyongyang’s ballistic and nuclear programs fuels fears of a miscalculation that would have catastrophic consequences on the Korean peninsula and beyond.
In July, the North conducted two successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) shots, putting much of the American continent within reach.
The US president’s inflammatory remarks are “absurd,” said General Rak-Gyom, commander of North Korean ballistic forces, quoted by the official KCNA news agency.
“A sensible dialogue is not possible with such a guy who has lost his reason.”
The North Korean army will bring the final touches to its project against Guam by mid-August and will submit it for evaluation to the young North Korean leader, he added.
– International law ? –
The army says four missiles will be fired simultaneously and will overfly the Japanese prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi.
The machines “will fly 17 minutes and 45 seconds over a distance of 3,356.7 km, and will crash at sea 30 or 40 km from Guam.” This would damage them outside of US territorial waters.
Japan, which has already warned that it will shoot down any missile threatening its territory, reaffirmed that it could never “tolerate the provocations” of the reclusive country.
Located in the Western Pacific, some 3,500 km from North Korea, Guam has strategic US facilities – heavy long-range bombers, hunters and submarines – that regularly participate in force demonstrations on and near The Korean peninsula, to the great fury of Pyongyang.
Guam, home to 162,000 inhabitants, is also equipped with a THAAD anti-missile shield.
Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul emphasized the unusual nature of the clarifications provided by Pyongyang.
“The North seems to be saying that what it is going to do will be done in accordance with international law,” he told AFP. “So it can not be ruled out that the North put this project into practice.”
– A difficult answer –
During the Cold War, in the 1980s, the Soviet Union fired unarmed missiles that had crashed in the Pacific a thousand miles from Hawaii.
Analysts said that shots at Guam would place Washington in a sensitive position: if it did not attempt to intercept them, its credibility would take a hit and Pyongyang would feel wings to conduct a life-size ICBM test.
But if an intercept was attempted and a missile survived, the effectiveness of US ballistic missile defense systems would be undermined.
“This is a coercive threat to end the B-1 flights,” said Twitter Adam Mount of the Center for American Progress. “Unlike Trump’s fuzzy and incendiary threats, those of North Korea are coercive, clear, precise and credible escalation.
Thousands of North Koreans marched on Wednesday, with their fists raised, in the streets of Pyongyang, where authorities organized demonstrations of support.
“Ten million hearts are inflamed with the promise to defend the motherland until death,” a banner proclaimed.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula tended to soar during the joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington and the next ones began around August 21st.
“The North Korean interpretation of Washington’s rhetoric differs from the Western interpretation of the usual threats from Pyongyang, and for the North Trump’s inflammatory remarks are a matter of life and death,” said Hong Hyun-Ik, At the Sejong Institute.
Pentagon leader Jim Mattis warned North Korea against the end of the regime. And a White House spokesman pointed out that the words used by the president belonged to him, but that the “tone and strength of the message” resulted from a consultation with his team.