North Korea says its plan to fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam will soon be ready, as a war of words with Washington intensifies.
State media said Hwasong-12 rockets would pass over Japan and land in the sea about 30km (17 miles) from Guam, if the plan was approved by Kim Jong-un.
It denounced Donald Trump’s warnings of ‘fire and fury” and said the US leader was “bereft of reason”.
The US has warned the North its actions could mean the “end of its regime”.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said Pyongyang would be “grossly overmatched” in any war against the US and its allies.
The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, who is in Guam, says there is a sense that the North Korean threat is rhetorical, as most people feel that if they really did strike with missiles it would be suicidal for the North Korean regime.
What is the North planning?
The North first announced on Wednesday that it had been drawing up plans for a missile strike against Guam, a Pacific island which is home to US military bases, strategic bombers and about 163,000 people.
A later statement carried by state media said the military would “finally complete the plan” by mid-August and send it to leader Kim Jong-un for his approval.
“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi [Kochi] Prefectures of Japan,” state news agency KCNA said, quoting army chief General Kim Rak Gyom.
“They will fly 3,356.7km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30-40km away from Guam.”
The Hwasong missiles are North Korea’s domestically produced medium and long-range weapons.
on Thursday, telling Reuters news agency that North Korea usually likes to be unpredictable and has fired surprise missiles in the past.
“They’re now telegraphing their punch, which means they don’t want to have any misunderstandings. I think that’s a position of fear,” said Governor Eddie Calvo.
What have the two sides been saying?
North Korean state media said President Trump’s remarks on Tuesday that the North risked “fire and fury” for threatening the US were “a load of nonsense”.
“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” it added.
Amid escalating rhetoric, Mr Mattis issued a strongly worded statement on Wednesday calling on Pyongyang to halt its arms programme.
“The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he said.
“While our state department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.”
My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before…
Mr Trump boasted about America’s atomic arsenal earlier on Wednesday.
Tweeting from New Jersey where he is on holiday, the president said the US nuclear stockpile was “more powerful than ever before”.
Should we be worried?
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has sought to reassure Americans that North Korea does not pose an imminent threat.
Speaking in Guam, where he was making a scheduled visit, he said he was hopeful a global “pressure campaign” involving Russia and China could lead to new dialogue with Pyongyang “about a different future”.
Mr Tillerson said the situation had not dramatically changed over the past few days, and that Americans “should sleep well at night”.
South Korea’s military has said it has not seen any unusual action in the North that might indicate a provocation.
China has urged calm, describing the situation as “complex and sensitive”.
Despite rounds of UN sanctions, Pyongyang carried out two nuclear tests last year and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.
Various reports recently have suggested the North has now achieved its goal of making a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles.
But this remains unconfirmed, and most analysts doubt the country would launch a pre-emptive attack on the US.
The tiny but important island of Guam
The 541sq km (209 sq miles) volcanic and coral island in the Pacific between the Philippines and Hawaii.
It is a “non-incorporated” US territory, with a population of about 163,000.
That means people born in Guam are US citizens, have an elected governor and House Representative, but cannot vote for a president in US national elections.
US military bases cover about a quarter of the island. About 6,000 personnel are based there and there are plans to move in thousands more.
It was a key US base in World War Two, and remains a vital staging post for US operations, giving access to potential flashpoints like the South China Sea, the Koreas and the Taiwan Straits.
Governor Wike proscribes IPOB’s activities in Rivers
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has signed an Executive Order proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the state.
Governor Wike, who made this known on Wednesday during a state-wide broadcast in Port Harcourt, also emphasized that the state is home to all tribes.
According to him, “We have everything against the presence and activities of the legally proscribed and anarchic Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and whatever that group stands for in Rivers State.
“This is clearly a terrorist group whose existence, creed, mission, and activities are strongly denounced even by the Government and peoples of the South-Eastern States of the country.
“I have therefore signed the executive order to reinforce the total ban on IPOB and its activities in Rivers State or any part thereof and nothing will stop us from enforcing this ban in its entirety”, Governor Wike assured
Oyo: Makinde Mother’s Burial Holds December
Body of Chief (Mrs.) Abigail Makinde, the mother of Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde will be interred in the first week of December.
Governor Makinde disclosed this yesterday while playing host to a delegation from the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi Ogunlade Odundun II, which was in Ibadan, the state capital to commiserate with him on the death of his mother.
The governor said he was very delighted with the visit, urging Akure people, the kingdom where his mother was born, to actively participate in her funeral.
Makinde, who described them as one of the most upright, bold and honest people in Yoruba land and the nation at large, also added that his late mother was a role model whose dedication to work, uprightness, boldness and honesty were the traits of Akure people.
A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, quoted the governor as saying “when you see an average Akure man or woman, you see courage and see people who are true to their words.”
While delivering the condolence message from the Deji of Akure, the leader of the delegation, who is the Asae of Akure Kingdom, Senior High Chief Sola Adegbonmire, described the governor’s mother as a worthy daughter of Akure Kingdom.
He stressed that the Omoregie family, where Madam Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde hailed from, is a family of exceptional and wonderful people in Akureland.
Oba Aladetoyinbo further described the death of Madam Makinde as a painful loss not only to the Makinde family but also to the entire Akure Kingdom.
He then prayed that God would grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
‘My mother was an epitome of love, humility’ – Gov. Makinde mourns
The Oyo state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, has described his late mother, Chief (Mrs.) Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde, as an epitome of love and humility, despite being a disciplinarian.
The governor stated this on Friday while receiving the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Sencondus, on a condolence visit to his house at Ikolaba GRA, Ibadan.
According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the governor expressed gratitude to the PDP NWC, noting that the fact that the leadership of the party made it to Ibadan barely 24 hours after Mama’s demise showed the love they have for him.
The statement also noted that apart from the PDP NWC entourage, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Edo, and Delta States, Alhaji Daud Akinola, Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh AbdulGaniyy Abubakri Agbotomokekere, the Grand Mufti of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abdul Fatai Alaga, and other Muslim leaders also paid condolence visits to the governor.
Similarly, the Oyo State Judiciary led by the Chief Justice of the state, Justice Muntar Abimbola, and the General Officer Commanding, 2 Div, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Major General Anthony Omozoje, were also at the Makinde residence to condole with the governor.
Speaking while receiving the PDP entourage, which included the National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd); Deputy National Secretary; National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi MaiBasira; National Woman Leader, Hajia Mariya Waziri; National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, as well a leader of the PDP from Osun State, Hon. Soji Adagunodo, Governor Makinde said the family remains grateful to God for the life Mama lived.
He said: “I want to thank you most sincerely for this condolence visit. I want to say, on behalf of myself, my wife, immediate family, and extended family, we are very grateful and appreciative of this visit. This happened yesterday morning and you are here this morning. It shows that you truly love me. So, I want to say thank you.
“Actually, we were preparing for my mummy’s 81st birthday, which would have been on the November 7, exactly three weeks from yesterday. But who are we to question God?
“We are grateful to God for the life she lived. To us, she was an epitome of love, humility. She was tough. If you see that trait in some of us, it came from her. And we also thank God that it was not like we were carrying her from one hospital to the other. She died peacefully in her sleep. So, we thank God for what He has done.”
Governor Makinde, who also took the opportunity to appreciate the PDP NWC for the confidence it had in him to lead the Ondo State governorship campaign, said what the outcome of the election meant was that the party would have to go back to the drawing board, adding that the campaign council will submit a report as soon as practicable.
“I will also like to use this opportunity to thank the National Working Committee of our great party for the opportunity you gave to us to lead the campaign in Ondo State. We can’t question God for the outcome of that election. What it means is that we have to go back to the drawing board. We will be submitting a report of those areas where we fell short, to the NWC as soon as practicable.
“I really want to use this opportunity to thank all of you who were there in Akure for the love of our party and for the support that you gave to our candidate in Ondo State.
“Once again, my Chairman, I am appreciative of this visit and I thank you and all the members of the NWC of our party.”
Earlier, the PDP national chairman said that the visit was to condole with the governor and the family for the loss of their mother.
He said: “A time like this is the time you know those who care and those who are with you. Unfortunately, we have two situations on our hands. We lost the chairman of the party in Zamfara. Obviously, we divided ourselves; the Deputy National Chairman of the party left for Zamfara yesterday morning for the burial of our late chairman of the party. And I and the rest of us in the National Working Committee leadership decided yesterday to come to Ibadan today.
“We are here by the grace of God to console you and the rest of the members of your family. We have no other way to do it than to join you in prayers.
“It is a very painful experience that you have to go through, sometimes alone. I know what it is because I have experienced it. It is only God that can fill the vacuum in your heart because the care of a mother is quite different from that of a father.
“So, on behalf of the leadership of our party, we are here to console you on this condolence visit. The Lord will strengthen you. And because you are one of our best and doing good works for the people of Oyo State and at this time that you are giving out your best, suddenly, God who gives has taken your beloved mother.
“We are here to share the pain and sorrow with you and to let you know we will continue in prayers during this period, even as we prepare for the funeral. After the funeral, we will continue to pray for you, your immediate and larger family. It is important for us to do so, having worked with you and having seen you as a man who is compassionate and cares for others.
“Today, we are here with you and we pray that God will energise you at this period and stretch His right hand of righteousness to touch every one of the members of the family to bear this great loss.
“Therefore, as members of the National Working Committee, we pray that God will keep you now and thereafter to make you continue to do the good work for the people of Oyo State
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