TV presenter shows distance from North Korea to Guam
Six B-1B “Lancer” bombers are on standby in the Pacific island of Guam in case Donald Trump decides to order a preemptive attack on North Korea’s nuclear sites, says NBC News, citing four military sources.
The bombers, stationed in the US Andersen Air Force base 2,100 miles from North Korea, are one of several military options being considered. Air, land, sea and cyber action are also possible, says NBC.
The target would be “approximately two dozen North Korean missile-launch sites, testing grounds and support facilities,” says the broadcaster.
US President Donald Trump took to Twitter today to confirm that military solutions are “now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely”.
So far hostilities have been limited to a war of words between Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. But as the rhetoric escalated this week, the US reportedly asked Britain’s Royal Air Force to help them spy on North Korea’s nuclear bases in order to find Kim’s missile stocks, says the Daily Mirror.
“The RAF has been asked to join an international spy operation over the rogue state to pinpoint nuclear sites and artillery batteries,” the Mirror says, adding that if the UK parliament approves the request at least one of Britain’s three Rivet Joint spy planes could fly to a base in Japan within two weeks.
North Korea is threatening to send medium to long-range strategic ballistic missiles to strike the area around Guam, home to the US Andersen Air Force base and thousands of US servicemen, the state-run news agency KCNA reports.
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis says the US is ready for both offensive and defensive missions.
“Our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means,” Mattis said in a written statement, adding “[but] it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.”
Donald Trump steps up North Korea rhetoric
The war of words between Donald Trump and North Korea escalated overnight, as the US President told reporters that his threat to rain down “fire and fury” might not have been strong enough.
“Rejecting critics at home and abroad who condemned his earlier warning as reckless sabre-rattling, Trump said North Korea and its volatile leader, Kim Jong-un, have pushed the United States and the rest of the world for too long,” says the New York Times says.
The US President said: “Frankly, the people who were questioning that statement, was it too tough? Maybe it wasn’t tough enough.”
His comments follow increasing threats from Pyongyang, including the announcement of plans to fire four missiles towards the US territory of Guam, which houses a strategically important naval and air base.
However, the US Defence Secretary James Mattis offered warned that armed conflict with North Korea would be “catastrophic” and said diplomacy was bearing fruit, the BBC says. “The American effort is diplomatically led,” he said. “It has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results.”
Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister, has reacted to the increasing hostility between Washington and Pyongyang by underlining his country’s military alliance with the US.
“Be very, very clear on that,” Turnbull told 3AW Radio. “If there’s an attack on the US, the Anzus Treaty would be invoked and Australia would come to the aid of the United States, as America would come to our aid if we were attacked.”