The US is planning to "punch the North Koreans in the nose" to put an end to the dictatorship's nuclear weapons programme, The Telegraph has reported.
The White House is said to have "dramatically" stepped up preparations for military intervention in recent months.
- Auckland would face 250k casualties in North Korean nuclear attack
- North Korea's hit-list: The cities it wants to destroy in the event of nuclear war
Options being considered include destroying a missile test launch site and targeting weapon stockpiles. The intention is to send the regime a message that the US is serious about preventing further nuclear development, and initiate negotiations.
Three sources - two former US officials familiar with current thinking and a third figure in the administration - confirmed to the paper military options were being considered.
"The Pentagon is trying to find options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose, get their attention and show that we're serious," a former US security official briefed on policy told The Telegraph.