Published: Wed, August 09, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Korea threatens to strike Guam with missiles at 'any moment'

North Korea threatens to strike Guam with missiles at 'any moment'

Secretary of State Tillerson has maintained that the USA is open to dialogue with North Korea, if it promises to abandon its development of nuclear weapons. In November 2010, the North attacks a front-line island, killing four South Koreans.

A land-based variant of a submarine-launched missile now under development, North Korea first successfully flight-tested this solid-fuel midrange missile in February.

That would send millions of refugees pouring over the border into China, burdening its cities and resources.

North Korea describes the Pukguksong-2 as a "medium-to-long range strategic missile", the same term it uses for the intermediate range Hwasong-12, and some South Korean experts see the missile as potentially capable of reaching Guam.

On Sunday, for instance, Pyongyang's state-run KCNA news agency warned the United States against "believing that its land is safe across the ocean" with North Korea's steady missile advances.

And there's an even wider circle for Tillerson's diplomatic signals.

That's a particularly important message for countries like Russian Federation, which wields a crucial Security Council vote and where there are deep suspicions about the U.S. penchant for "regime change".

"He has been very threatening beyond a normal state", Trump added, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, "And as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before". If it follows through on its Guam threat, Trump would have no choice.

For now, it's not getting any calmer.

Elected officials in Guam are reassuring constituents that the US territory is safe following North Korea's claim that it is examining its plan for "making an enveloping fire" around the strategically important Pacific island.

Russian Federation and China have repeatedly called for a political solution to the long-standing crisis, and the renewal of the 'six-party talks.' Moscow and Beijing are opposed to any further missile launches carried out by North Korea, while they also call on the USA to halt military drills in the region.

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Pyongyang has steadily increased its testing, launching its fifth nuclear test in September and ratcheting up missile tests exponentially.

Trump's comments came as the Washington Post reported that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that it can fit inside its missiles.

Last month's ICBM tests highlighted the growing threat.

"After many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea". Cha notes that if the rate of tests is extrapolated over the rest of Trump's term, Pyongyang would fire off almost 100 tests.

"Launching a missile at Guam is not something he can get away with".

Sen. Ben Cardin, R-Md., the Ranking Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the remarks "not helpful" and said the president "lacks the temperament and judgement to deal with the serious crisis the United States confronts".

Nearly two-thirds of those polled, 62%, say Kim Jong Un's isolated dictatorship poses a deep threat to the USA, up from 48% who said the same in March and the highest that figure has been in polling dating back to 2000.

But Tillerson says the current USA strategy is working.

"China and Russian Federation have a special responsibility to do everything they can to dissuade North Korea from a path of escalation", she added.

However, its most recent statements suggest that North Korea is taking a more aggressive stance - suggesting that it might attack before the USA has a chance to strike.

Its importance has declined since the Second World War, given the creation of military bases in Japan and South Korea, says Carl Schuster, a Hawaii Pacific University professor and former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center. The test drew a new set of harsh economic sanctions from the U.N. Security Council over the weekend.

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