The South Korean military has issued a warning to North Korea over its latest threat to launch missiles at the US territory of Guam. It is considered rare for Seoul's military leadership to respond directly to Pyongyang's rhetoric. The army is known to have reacted strongly in the past only when there was a missile launch or a nuclear test.
Constantly ramping up its bellicose rhetoric, North Korea has revealed it has come up with detailed plans to attack Guam. This came in response to US President Donald Trump's assertion that the North would face "fire and fury" if the situation worsens.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) issued a strongly-worded statement warning that the Kim Jong-un regime would pay a heavy price if there is any provocative act against either South Korea or its ally, the US.
"It's a serious challenge to our people and the South Korea-US alliance," Army Colonel Roh Jae-cheon, the JCS spokesman, said in a statement saying "the allies' strong and resolute retaliation" will hit North Korea if ballistic missiles are fired at Guam.
The JCS did not divulge any specific counter-action the military might be drafting against the North, but insisted that the armed forces are prepared to deal with any kind of escalation.
"We give a strict warning. If North Korea commits provocations despite our stern warning, it will face a strong response from South Korea's military and the US-South Korea alliance," the military spokesperson said. Seoul is also set to hold a national security meeting on Thursday, 10 August to discuss the growing threat from Pyongyang.
Despite flaring tensions, North Korea has shown no signs of stepping back, deriding Trump's warning as a "load of nonsense".
Trump "let out a load of nonsense about 'fire and fury' failing to grasp the ongoing grave situation. This is extremely getting on the nerves of the infuriated Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA [Korean People's Army]," said an article on the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).