Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Japanese fighters conducted air drills with US B-1B bombers on Tuesday

Japanese fighters conducted air drills with US B-1B bombers on Tuesday

North Korea's military threatened Wednesday to launch an intermediate-range ballistic missile attack on "areas near Guam" in order to contain the U.S. military's strategic assets based on the Pacific island.

According to an AP report, the North's Foreign Ministry in August of 2016 warned that all US military bases in the Pacific including Guam would "face ruin in the face of all-out and substantial attack" by the North's military.

Guam is about 2,100 miles southeast of Pyongyang, and 3,800 miles west of Honolulu. While there has been some resistance and displeasure from the people of Guam over the USA military's presence, it is also essential to the island's economy, second only to tourism in importance.

Japan said it had conducted joint air drills with US supersonic bombers in Japanese skies close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday as tension in the region escalates amid North Korea's continued ballistic missile tests.

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Andersen Air Force Base on Guam is where the USA keeps its B1-B bombers deployed to the Asia Pacific. Here's a look at the USA military's role on the island, which became a US territory in 1898. It has two 2-mile (3-kilometer) -long runways and large fuel and munitions storage facilities. Now, about 160,000 people live on Guam. Altogether, 7,000 US military personnel are stationed on Guam.

The U.S. military began rotating bombers - the B-2 stealth bomber as well as the B-1 and B-52 - to Andersen in 2004. The rotations also came as North Korea increasingly upped the ante in the standoff over its development of nuclear weapons. It's created to destroy ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

"I'm pro-military buildup", said resident Gus Aflague, 60, whose grandfather and brother both joined the U.S. Navy, according to the report. They threatened US, other countries, and they threaten Guam. The Navy used the island as a coaling base and communications station until Japan seized the island on December 10, 1941. Many refugees fleeing Vietnam were evacuated through Guam.

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