TOPSHOT - This picture taken on August 14, 2017 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 15, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) at an undisclosed location.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said on August 15 he would hold off on a planned missile strike near Guam, but warned the highly provocative move would go ahead in the event of further "reckless actions" by Washington. / AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS / STR / South Korea OUT / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT   ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
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N. Korea threatens missile launch toward Guam
01:32 - Source: CNN
Tokyo CNN  — 

North Korean state media on Friday renewed a threat to launch missiles toward the US territory of Guam, warning that “reckless moves” by the US would compel Pyongyang to take action.

North Korea first said it was examining a plan to target the Pacific island in August after US President Donald Trump warned the isolated regime would “face fire and fury like the world has never seen” following a US intelligence assessment that North Korea had produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead.

“We have already warned several times that we will take counteractions for self-defense, including a salvo of missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam,” the KCNA report quoted Kim Kwang Hak, a researcher at the Institute for American Studies of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, as saying.

“The US military action hardens our determination that the US should be tamed with fire and lets us take our hand closer to the ‘trigger’ for taking the toughest countermeasure,” Kim added.

The latest warnings from Pyongyang follow weeks of rising tensions, which promise to escalate further when US and South Korea joint naval exercises begin Monday.

Joint military exercises are particularly infuriating to Pyongyang. The North Korean government views them as a dress rehearsal for an invasion – even as the US insists they are purely defensive in nature.

The KCNA report listed a string of perceived US provocations – including a litany of bombastic threats from President Trump, recent deployments of a US guided-missile submarine and aircraft carrier to the region, and a new round of “high intensity” US and South Korea joint naval drills.

The article ended with a familiar warning: that the US would be solely responsible for “pushing the situation on the peninsula to the point of explosion.”

This photo taken on May 6, 2016 and released on May 7 by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un making an opening speech during the 7th Workers Party Congress at the 'April 25 Palace' in Pyongyang.   / AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS / STR / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT - - - --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSSTR/AFP/Getty Images
North Korea's Workers' Party: A dominant force
00:58 - Source: CNN

Bluster?

It would be easy to dismiss this as more bluster from Pyongyang. But North Korea’s latest message indicates the regime may be ready to carry out what would be its most provocative missile test to date – firing four missiles over Japan and landing around 30 to 40 kilometers (18 to 25 miles) off the coast of the tiny island.

North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has never ruled out the plan to fire missiles into the waters off Guam. During an August 14 inspection of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army, Kim said he would watch for continued “reckless” behavior by the US before making a decision.

Tensions have only escalated sinc