By the account of numerous news media, a North Korean official has reaffirmed Pyongyang's commitment to developing a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching "all the way to the East coast of the mainland U.S."
And CNN reports that North Korea is currently not interested in diplomacy with the US until it achieves that goal.
This is not good news for Guam, the CNMI or the Pacific in general.
Last week, North Korean state media renewed a threat to launch missiles toward Guam, warning that "reckless moves" by the U.S. would compel Pyongyang to take action.
North Korea first said it was examining a plan to target Guam in August after Trump warned Kim Jong-un's regime would "face fire and fury like the world has never seen" following a US intelligence assessment that North Korea had produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead.
Both steps are necessary for the DPRK to send that "clear message" to the Trump administration that it possesses an effective nuclear deterrent, the North Korean official said on Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hasn't helped matters, stating that diplomacy with North Korea will continue "'until the first bomb drops."
Even more concerning, North Korea is reportedly considering other responses. One could be an above-ground nuclear detonation, like the kind North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho threatened at the United Nations last month when he suggested leader Kim Jong-un was considering detonating "an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb" over the Pacific after Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea.
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