North Korea responded to President Donald Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” by calling it a “load of nonsense,” according to reports.
But the isolated country has also taken it a step further by added more specific details to its threats to launch nuclear-capable missiles near Guam, a U.S. territory home to massive US Air Force and Navy bases.
North Korea is "seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the US," according to a translation of the statement on South Korea's Yonhap News.
The statement lays out a vague plan to fire four missiles over Japan. The missiles would then crash into the waters less then 25 miles away from Guam. North Korea said plans should be complete by mid-August and ready for Kim Jong-un’s approval.
The Hwasong-12 missile has only been tested once and has unpredictable performance and unreliable accuracy, according to reports.
The North’s news agency said Trump "let out a load of nonsense about 'fire and fury'," adding "sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him."
On global markets, the strong rhetoric and sharp increase in tensions drove investors out of stocks and other risky assets on Wednesday and into textbook safe havens like gold and Treasuries.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stark warning earlier on Wednesday, telling Pyongyang the United States and its allies would win any arms race or conflict.
"The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people," Mattis said in a statement, using the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The United States and South Korea remain technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States.
Reuters contributed to this report.