The North Korean army is warning Washington that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using "smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear" weapons.
The threat from the unnamed army spokesman early Thursday is latest in a series of escalating warnings from North Korea, which has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.
The spokesman said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency that troops have been authorized to counter U.S. aggression with "powerful practical military counteractions."
This comes after the Department of Defense announced it will deploy ballistic missile defense system to Guam in the coming weeks to counter the possible threat from North Korea.
Asia-Pacific security experts say North Korea has little chance of hitting Hawaii, even with its most sophisticated missile.