North Korea-US tensions: seven potential scenarios

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Donald Trump has warned North Korea with ‘fire and fury’ and Kim Jong-un has threatened to attack Guam. How could this play out?

The “fire and fury” option. In recent days the US national security adviser, HR McMaster, raised the prospect of “preventative war” as a policy option. The idea would be to administer a sudden hammer blow to North Korean (DPRK) military infrastructure that would substantially set back its ability to attack the US and could trigger a coup or a revolt. The downsides to this option are foreboding. The regime has missiles hidden all over the country, as well as 8,000 big guns trained largely at Seoul, 40 miles across the demilitarised zone. No first strike would come close to disarming Kim Jong-un completely and his retaliation would almost certainly involve mass civilian deaths.

Related: Investors move to safe havens as US and North Korea trade threats

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