NKorea examines plan to contain US bases on Guam

FILE - This file photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea’s northwest, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this photo. The strongest U.N. sanctions in a generation may still prove no match for North Korea’s relentless nuclear weapons ambitions. Even in diplomatic triumph, the Trump administration is gambling that it has enough time to test if economic pressure can get Kim Jong Un’s totalitarian government to end its missile advances and atomic weapons tests (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

The speaker of the Guam Legislature says he hopes the island can defend itself in the event of an attack from North Korea.

Benjamin J. Cruz tells The Associated Press in a telephone interview, “We’re just praying that the United States and the … defense system we have here is sufficient enough to protect us.”

North Korea says it is examining its operational plans for attacking Guam to contain U.S. bases there.

Cruz calls the threat “very disconcerting,” saying, “It forces us to pause and to say a prayer for the safety of our people.”

Rena Chang, who owns a hair salon in the tourist area of Tumon, says: “That’s so scary. My heart is pumping right now.”

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7:40 p.m.

North Korea says it is examining its operational plans for attacking Guam to contain U.S. bases there.

The army said in a statement distributed Wednesday by the state-run news agency that it is studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles. The U.S. territory is home to Andersen Air Force Base.

The statement says the move is in response to a recent U.S. ICBM test.

It comes as President Donald Trump says North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it makes any more threats to the U.S.

A Japanese defense paper and a U.S. media report Tuesday said North Korea may have successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

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6:20 p.m.

Republican Sen. John McCain says “great leaders” don’t threaten foes unless they’re ready to act – and he’s not certain President Donald Trump is ready to act against North Korea.

McCain, who heads the Armed Services Committee, made the comments Tuesday in an interview on KTAR News in Phoenix.

He is responding to Trump’s warning that North Korea could face “fire and fury” if it threatens the United States after a new report said U.S. intelligence officials believe Pyongyang has successfully produced a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

McCain says he takes exception to Trump’s comments “because you got to be sure you can do what you say you’re going to do.”

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3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that North Korea “had best not make any more threats to the United States” or “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Trump issued the warning during a briefing on opioid addiction at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

A Japanese defense paper and a U.S. media report said Tuesday that North Korea may have successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

That’s a key benchmark in the country’s attempt to become a full-fledged nuclear power.

Washington’s alarm over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s pursuit of a nuclear capability has intensified in the past month after the North conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

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1:29 p.m.

The Washington Post is reporting that U.S. intelligence officials assess that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

That would mean North Korea has passed a crucial threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

The Post story, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence officials, said the confidential analysis was completed last month by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

Officials at the agency would not comment Tuesday. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence could not immediately be reached for comment.

Separately, Japan’s defense ministry assessed in a report Tuesday that it is possible that North Korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has developed nuclear warheads.

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