President Donald Trump says the US military is “locked and loaded” to deal with North Korea, ramping up the rhetorical brinkmanship.
“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong-un will find another path!” he tweeted.
He spoke as North Korea accused him of “driving” the Korean peninsula to the “brink of a nuclear war“.
Pyongyang has announced plans to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam.
“Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit.”
Mr Trump’s tweet follows his threat earlier this week to rain “fire and fury” on Pyongyang.
His latest post came hours after his Defence Secretary Jim Mattis attempted to defuse tensions by emphasising a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
Speaking in California late on Thursday, the Pentagon chief said it was his job as defence secretary to be ready for conflict.
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But he said the effort by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley “has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results”.
Mr Mattis added: “The tragedy of war is well enough known. It doesn’t need another characterisation beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic.”
When asked about US military plans for a potential conflict, he said the country was ready, but he would not “tell the enemy in advance what I’m going to do”.
Also on Friday, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency accused Washington of a “criminal attempt to impose nuclear disaster upon the Korean nation”.