US President Donald Trump issued another warning to North Korea, with a reference to American weapons as being "locked and loaded".
"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, a day after his defence secretary said the United States was ready to counter any threat from Pyongyang.
North Korea's plan is to launch four Hwasong-12 missiles that would pass over southern Japan, fly 3356 kilometres and land 30 to 40 kilometres from Guam.
The Pentagon said the United States and South Korea would proceed as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, an action sure to further antagonize North Korea. Meanwhile, Russia, China and Germany voiced dismay at the escalating rhetoric from Pyongyang and Washington.
Mr Trump is presently vacationing at his New Jersey golf resort, but is keeping up the war of words.
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The term "locked and loaded," popularized in the 1949 war film Sands of Iwo Jima starring American actor John Wayne, refers to preparations for shooting a gun.
Friday's tweet by the Republican President, a wealthy businessman and former reality television personality, came shortly after the North Korean state news agency, KCNA, put out a statement blaming him for the boiling tensions.
"Trump is driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war, making such outcries as 'the US will not rule out a war against the DPRK (North Korea)'," KCNA said.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged Pyongyang and Washington to sign up to a previously unveiled joint Russian-Chinese plan under which North Korea would freeze missile tests and the United States and South Korea would impose a moratorium on large-scale military exercises. Neither the United States nor North Korea has embraced the plan.
Reuters / Newshub.