North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un has been shown plans to fire missiles into waters near US military bases and “wring the windpipes of the Yankees”.
State media released photos of their leader looking at maps alongside military chiefs during an inspection of North Korea’s Strategic Forces, which handles the country’s missile programme, on Monday.
One large map appeared to show a straight line between northeastern North Korea and Guam, a US territory in the western Pacific that is home to American military bases.
The line passed through Japan and apparently showed the flight route of four ballistic missiles Pyongyang has threatened to fire at Guam, which is 3,200 km (2,000 miles) from North Korea’s capital.
Mr Kim was reported to have ordered his military to be prepared to launch missiles towards Guam at any time.
He claimed it will be “the most delightful historic moment” when the weapons “wring the windpipes of the Yankees and point daggers at their necks”, according to state media.
But the communist leader was said to have delayed a decision on striking Guam as he continues to observe US behaviour, opening up the possibility of a diplomatic solution to the escalating crisis.
Mr Kim insisted North Korea would carry out missile launches if the “Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity” and urged the US to “think reasonably and judge properly”, the report added.
US President Donald Trump has declared his military “locked and loaded” and ready to unleash “fire and fury” if Pyongyang continues to threaten America or its allies, with the US ready to take out any missile heading towards Guam.
:: Why is North Korea threatening to strike Guam with missiles?
But amid the threats made by the two provocative leaders, South Korea President Moon Jae-in expressed his hope for a peaceful resolution to the growing tensions, which centre on fears North Korea is close to its aim of being able to send a nuclear missile to the US mainland following recent tests.
In a speech on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the end of the Second World War, he said: “Our government will put everything on the line to prevent another war on the Korean Peninsula.
“Regardless of whatever twist and turns we could experience, the North Korean nuclear programme should absolutely be solved peacefully.”
He added South Korea would “block war by all means”.
Meanwhile, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe used a telephone call on Tuesday to praise Mr Trump’s commitment to protect US allies in the region and halt missile launches from Pyongyang.
After speaking with the US President, Mr Abe said: “Through a firm partnership between Japan and the US and cooperating with China, Russia and the international community we agreed that our priority was to work to ensure that North Korea doesn’t launch more missiles.”
Japanese shares rebounded on Tuesday morning, as fears of military conflict between the US and North Korea appeared to recede.