On August 8, the Washington Post reported on Defense Intelligence Agency analysis indicating that North Korea had successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, capable of being fitted onto an ICBM. President Trump responded that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States…They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Earlier that day, in a statement responding to UN Res. 2371, North Korean officials claimed those involved “should be mindful that the DPRK’s strategic steps accompanied by physical action will be taken mercilessly with the mobilization of all its national strength.”
On August 9, North Korea threatened a strike surrounding the U.S. territory of Guam using four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missiles. Guam hosts a U.S. air base and approximately 6,000 U.S. troops. A THAAD was permanently deployed for the defense of the island in 2015 after being temporarily deployed in 2013. North Korea offered specific details on its Guam missile strike flight path, explaining that the missiles would fly over the Japanese prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima, and Koichi. On August 10, Japan’s defense minister said that his country’s military could shoot down North Korean missiles before they reach Guam.
On August 11, President Trump tweeted “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”