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North Korea: Plan to Launch 4 'Crucial Warning' Missiles at Guam to be Ready by Mid-Month

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary James Mattis sounded a sterner warning toward North Korea today than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's insistence that the nuclear crisis was nothing to lose sleep over, with the State Department declaring that the administration was nonetheless all on the same page about the threat posed by Kim Jong-un's regime.

Then North Korea sounded off again after its Tuesday warning that the regime was formulating plans to strike Guam, saying today that the launch plan will be ready for Kim's approval by mid-month and entail four Hwasong-12 rockets crossing "the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan," said the North's official Korean Central News Agency. "They will fly 3,356.7 km (2,085.8 miles) for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam."

Pyongyang said the intermediate-range missiles would "interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam" and "signal a crucial warning to the U.S."

"Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him," said the statement from Korean People's Army Gen. Kim Rak-gyom, adding that President Trump's "fire and fury" warning was a "load of nonsense" and was "extremely getting on the nerves" of North Korea's military.

Mattis said in a statement released before the latest KCNA threat today that Kim "should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability."

"The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people," Mattis said.

"President Trump was informed of the growing threat last December and on taking office his first orders to me emphasized the readiness of our ballistic missile defense and nuclear deterrent forces. While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth," he added. "The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates."

Trump said Tuesday about a report that Pyongyang had successfully miniaturized a warhead to fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."