Japan says it 'can never tolerate' North Korea's provocations

"North Korea has always threatened other countries". They threatened US, other countries, and they threaten Guam.

The president in a short briefing with reporters on Thursday said his already unnerving "fire and fury" comments on North Korea may not have been harsh enough. "They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before".

Alluding to the threats against Guam, Mr Trump said if North Korea took any steps to even think about an attack, it would have reason to be nervous.

"Maybe it wasn't tough enough".

Schaefer called for the recent United Nations (UN) sanctions to be implemented more resolutely against the DPRK.

Washington has been testing its missile defenses in response to the North's stepped-up development and the current escalation of tensions could lead to pressure for the US military to try to shoot down the North's missiles in midflight if they are heading toward Guam. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that the regime has developed the capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon on a warhead.

There is no indication that the Hwasong-12 missiles mentioned in the Guam plan would be tipped with nuclear warheads.

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The president suggested he could change his stance toward China's trade imbalance with the USA if Beijing helps with North Korea.

But those message are beginning to converge.

Asked if the administration is considering a preemptive strike, he said, "We don't talk about that". The remarks are the latest development in growing tensions between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"For people who are questioning that statement - was it too tough?" But the extreme specificity of the plan suggested it was created to show North Korea is actually plotting a launch.

The diplomatic move came hours after Pyongyang raised the stakes by announcing it was "seriously examining" a plan to "interdict" USA forces based in the Pacific territory of Guam with four ballistic missile strikes nearby. Defence minister Itsunori Onodera said a missile fired towards Guam would represent a failure of the U.S. deterrence that protected Japan.

Likely to follow threat through?

The communist regime's military said it will be ready by mid-month to launch four missiles simultaneously. The flight-to-safety into U.S. Treasuries also abated overnight.

Some analysts do not think that Kim will follow through on this very specific threat against the U.S. territory.

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Mr Trump said North Korea had "better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble".

"They've noticed that we've never sought conflict with an adversary who can hit our territory (and they) hope that this (threat) will force a more diplomatic line".

Meredith Sumpter, Asia director of the Eurasia Group and a long-time Asia analyst, says that despite the escalation in tensions, "we are no closer to actual military confrontation now then we were before".

"Kim Jong Un says a lot of things and he makes a lot of threats, but at the end of the day he knows that if he should undertake any kind of military strike against the USA and its allies, the counter response will likely be the end of his regime", she told CNN. The S&P 500 declined 1.45% and the Nasdaq dipped 2.13%. A missile fired from North Korea to Guam would probably pass over Japan.

The US has flown bombers from Guam over the Korean peninsula in military drills with Japan and South Korea.

Dubbed the "tip of the spear", Guam is a key part of the USA presence in the Pacific and is home to thousands of American service members and their families.

Guam is equipped with the US Army's defence system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad), which can intercept missiles.

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