'We could be gone tomorrow': Life in North Korea's crosshairs

Trump: North Korea will be met with

Trump: North Korea will be met with "fire and fury"

It is not known whether the North Korean leader will follow through on his plan to fire four ballistic missiles into waters off the coast of the island, which the country's military now has the ability to do. He invited the North to participate in next year's Winter Olympics, which South Korea is hosting. The annual exercises, called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, are expected to run from August 21 to 31. There is also a a strong military presence in the Western Pacific, between North Korea and Guam, not to mention Guam's own defense infrastructure, he said.

The announcement was made after US President Trump promised "fire and fury" against Pyongyang if it continues tests aimed at developing nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missiles. Pyongyang may be looking to eventually use the existence of its nuclear weapons to negotiate a peace treaty with the United States to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War and remove US troops from the South.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to calm tensions after Trump's remarks, saying "Americans should sleep well at night".

Reintroducing nuclear weapons remains an unlikely scenario, as that would undermine demands from Seoul and Washington for North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs.

Rather, Seoul wants to double the maximum payload to 1,000 kg or greater, powerful enough to target underground bunkers or nuclear sites within the North, the officials said.

South Korea hosts nearly 35,000 American troops, which is the third largest USA military contingent in a foreign state after Japan and Germany.

On Wednesday the United States president responded by boasting of America's nuclear arsenal, saying it was "far stronger and more powerful than ever before". But pushing the envelope, or just threatening to do so, is what North Korea does best.

I'm not sure even China can control them.

Calvo and Trump have discussed the North Korea crisis, with the president pledging to deploy forces that would ensure its territory is safe and secure.

The North's military chief Ri Myong Su responded saying that if the U.S. continued in its "reckless" behaviour, Pyongyang would "inflict the most miserable and merciless punishment upon all the provokers". North Korea has been increasingly sensitive to the exercises lately because they reportedly include training for "decapitation strikes" to kill Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.

North Korea could also use its artillery, rockets and special operations forces to attack South Korea.

'A catastrophe is looming, ' the South's top-selling Chosun daily said in an editorial this week. State-run media ensures that the population gets the North Korean side of the story, but doesn't convey any sense of worldwide concern about the situation. Along with the US itself, the two allies are frequently targets of Pyongyang's threatening rhetoric.

The US military has a huge footprint across south-east Asia and the Pacific, particularly in Japan and South Korea.

"In the event of a first strike against Kim, even a non-nuclear option, it is highly likely that Kim would retaliate at least conventionally against South Korea", said James Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral who is now dean of Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

HU: He's right. North Korea detailed plans for a missile test that would land in the waters near Guam. The blue and yellow lines indicate other possible flight paths at range-maximizing ballistic trajectories.

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