Trump, North Korea trade escalating threats of fire

A handout photo made available by the US Air Force on 09 August 2017 shows a US Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, USA preparing to take off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a 10-hour mission, flying in the vicinity of Kyushu, Japan, the East China Sea, and the Korean peninsula, 08 August 2017. (EPA photo)

SEOUL -- In an exchange of threats, US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” and the North's military claimed Wednesday it was examining plans for attacking Guam.

The high-level tit-for-tat follows reports that North Korea has mastered a crucial technology needed to strike the United States with a nuclear missile.

Despite regular North Korean threats against Guam, a US territory in the Pacific about 3,400 kilometres from the Korean Peninsula, it is extremely unlikely that Pyongyang would risk the assured annihilation of its revered leadership with a pre-emptive attack on US citizens. It's also not clear how reliable North Korea's mid-range missiles would be in an attack against a distant target given the relatively few times they've been tested.

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