Trump, North trade dire threats

The naval base is an important outpost for US fast-attack submarines that are a key means for gathering intelligence in the region, including the Korean peninsula and the South China Sea where China has been building military bases on man-made islands. "What we're hopeful is that this pressure campaign (including sanctions), which the entire world now has joined us in, and with the engagement of China and Russian Federation, two of North Korea's closest neighbours - that they can begin to persuade the regime that they needed to reconsider the current pathway they're on and think about engaging in a dialogue about a different future".

"North Korea's most recent threat to target Guam is unsafe and it further heightens tensions in our region", Bordallo said. Its natives are USA citizens by birth.

The naval base dates to 1898, when the US took over Guam from Spain after the Spanish-American War.

Bombers, routinely deployed at the U.S Andersen Air Force Base in the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, have been readying for action on Friday in response to North Korea's threat to land a missile near the island.

Similar threats in 2013 led Guam's U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo to advocate for the THAAD system, she said in a statement Wednesday.

The Japanese Defense Ministry on August 8 said that North Korea may have already developed the capability to fit nuclear warheads onto its ICBMs.

The U.S. military has said it plans to increase its presence on Guam and will move thousands of U.S. Marines now stationed in Japan to the island between 2024 and 2028.

Guam is armed with the U.S. Army's defence system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, which can intercept missiles.

Tension in the region has risen since the reclusive North staged two nuclear bomb tests in 2016 and launched two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July in defiance of world powers. It is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) southeast of North Korea, much closer than it is to any of the United States.

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States", Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf club during a vacation.

Baek said the South Korean military authorities maintained a complete defense readiness in preparation for several possible situations, noting that it would be important for the DPRK "to stop provocation and change attitude".

"North Korea has always threatened other countries".

The wording of the statement shows North Korea is "scared", a senior Blue House official said on background. The missile cited by the KPA spokesman, Hwasong-12, is a liquid-fueled, intermediate-range missile that was first successfully tested on May 13 this year (after at least three earlier failed attempts), according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) missile defense project. Hawaii is about 4,000 miles (6,500 km) to the east.

Guam, a 210-square-mile island, is a USA territory in the Pacific Ocean.

Vanessa Coleman