North Korea said Tuesday that its military presented leader Kim Jong Un with plans to launch intermediate-range missiles into waters near Guam and "wring the windpipes of the Yankees" by creating "enveloping fire" near the key US military hub in the Pacific.
The North Korean leader said he would wait and see how the United States behaved before deciding whether to execute the planned launch of four missiles over Japan towards the tiny USA territory in the Pacific.
Kim's comments, however, with their conditional tone, seemed to hold out the possibility that friction could ease if the United States made some sort of gesture that Pyongyang considered a move to back away from previous "extremely unsafe reckless actions".
The North's latest report said Kim ordered his military to be prepared to launch the missiles toward Guam at any time.
Tuesday marks the anniversary of Japan's expulsion from the Korean peninsula, a rare holiday celebrated by both the North and the South. Moon and Kim, who has not been seen publicly for several days, are both expected to make addresses on their respective sides of the heavily militarized border.
Clapper said on CNN that the rhetoric was having a destabilizing affect and could cause North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to decide to lash out.
President Donald Trump once called Kim a "pretty smart cookie". Beijing is calling for a freeze on North Korean weapons testing and also on joint US-South Korean military exercises-something Washington has repeatedly rejected.
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Trump was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for issuing a threat of launching a nuclear strike against North Korea with which the United States has been in conflict since the start of the Korean War in 1950.
The latest bout of tension was sparked by the North's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, which appeared to bring much of the United States within range.
"No war should occur on the Korean Peninsula ever again".
The comments, while typically belligerent, are significant because they also appeared to signal a path to defuse a deepening crisis with Washington over a weapons program that is seen as nearing the ability to accurately send a nuclear missile to the USA mainland.
But he says "effective military-to-military" ties with China also are important.
The North's official KCNA news agency said Kim was briefed on the "plan for an enveloping fire at Guam" during an inspection on Monday of the Strategic Force command in charge of the nuclear-armed state's missile units.
Dunford said the United States wants to peacefully resolve tensions with North Korea.
However, North Korea reiterated its threats, with its official KCNA news agency saying "war can not be blocked by any power if sparks fly due to a small, random incident that was unintentional".