On Monday, North Korean officials announced their leader, Kim Jong Un, has been fully briefed on plans for missile tests near Guam, the Associated Press reported.
According to the AP, Kim said he will give the approval order for a missile test near Guam if the United States continues its “extremely dangerous actions.”
The news comes as just one more step up for the ever increasing war rhetoric between the leader of North Korea and United States President Donald Trump.
The threats between the two nuclear powers began to ratchet up on Tuesday, when President Donald Trump told members of the media at his Bedminster Golf Club, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.” The president added, “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
North Korean leadership quickly responded to Trump’s comments by saying his words were a “load of nonsense.” According to the AP, the officials further said that “only absolute force” can work on someone as “bereft of reason” as Trump.
And not one to leave the last word on the table, on Friday, Trump tweeted, “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”
But it appears the tweet did little to dissuade North Korea from its plans.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that if North Korea follows through on any of its threats “it’s game on.”
“If they shoot at the United States, I’m assuming they’ve hit the United States. ... If they do that, then it’s game on,” Mattis said, according to CNN. “You don’t shoot at people in this world unless you want to bear the consequences.”
Mattis added that the U.S. military would be able to determine if a North Korean missile launch occurred “within moments” and that the military would “take it out.”
But still, even if a missile launch happens, a declaration of war rests solely on President Trump’s shoulders, Mattis said.
“War is up to the president, perhaps up to the Congress, the bottom line is we will defend the country from an attack, for us that’s war, that’s a wartime situation,” he said. “We will defend the country from any attack, at any time, from any quarter. Yes, that means for a lot of young troops they’re going to be in a wartime situation, welcome to reality. But it’s not declaring war, it’s not that I’m over here Dr. Strangelove doing things like that.”