The already tense relationship between the United States and North Korea took a pretty drastic and terrifying turn on Tuesday after a series of threats from both countries. Given all of the chatter about "nuclear wearheads" and "military reaction" you've likely seen on your timeline today, you may be wondering: Has North Korea declared war on the United States?
The answer is no, although the country did threaten to attack U.S. military bases, which is a pretty big development in this continuously escalating conflict. On Tuesday, North Korean state-run media announced that the military is "carefully examining" the option of firing intermediate-range missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam.
This threat comes after it was reported earlier this week that the country has produced miniaturized nuclear warheads that could fit inside of the kind of missiles the country has been testing for years, making the threat of nuclear warfare seem that much more imminent. President Trump responded to the news by threatening "fire and fury like the world has never seen" against the country, prompting the regime's ultimate threat to strike Guam that was announced just hours later.
All of this developed just days after the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to impose strict sanctions against North Korea for its continued missile testing.
North Korea says military "examining operational plan" to strike Guam with ballistic missiles, warns US "may provoke a dangerous conflict"— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) August 8, 2017
All of this can be pretty confusing, and admittedly pretty alarming. While North Korea has not declared war on the United States, the country has repeatedly failed to respond to international pressure to stop developing its nuclear capabilities, and has now threatened to use those developments in a hostile attack against the United States. The Trump Administration has so far been adamant about finding a diplomatic solution to the problem, but as North Korea's aggression continues, it seems that the administration's patience is wearing thin.
Trump's National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said in an interview with MSNBC over the weekend that a "military option" is on the table if North Korea's threats continue; but of course, that's only if every other possible response has been exhausted.
While the United States and North Korea are not at war, Tuesday's developments have understandably led to a lot of fear and uncertainty. But it's important to remember that oftentimes a threat is just a threat, and U.S. officials have so far committed to avoiding retaliation unless absolutely necessary.