Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Slant 101: North Korea's plan to fire missiles near Guam

Slant 101: North Korea's plan to fire missiles near Guam

The lives of the people in South Korea should not be threatened by the provocative acts of the USA and North Korea, said the letter.

This week, North Korea hinted at the possible response when its military threatened to "burn up all the objects" in South Korean provinces near the border, including Seoul, a metropolitan area of 25 million people.

"I don't believe they have the capability to do so yet, and besides, why would they want to commit suicide by attacking a remote target like Guam?" he said.

"But, considering Guam supposedly has a massive quantity of weapons, all I can do is pray and trust all will be OK".

The latest war of words between Trump and the North - ruled by young leader Kim Jong-Un - unnerved many in the South, even though it has become largely used to hostile rhetoric from its neighbour.

Having experienced a Japanese invasion in World War Two and countless earthquakes and super-typhoons, there was no USA community better prepared than Guam "for any contingency", Calvo said.

The United States could try a similar approach: attacking North Korea's missiles while warning Mr. Kim that his government would be the next target if he dared to strike back.

An aerial image of US Naval Base Guam on September 20, 2006.

Asian travelers, mainly Japanese and South Koreans, are still landing at the airport and it's tough to find a room at one of the vacation resorts dotted around the island.

In all the North has staged five atomic tests - including three under Kim - as it seeks to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the continental US. The island is also home to a large United States military presence, a fact that has led to tension with some local residents, particularly those of the indigenous Chamorro community. That base and a USA naval base are home to about 13,000 American military personnel.

AN ATTACK on the tiny Pacific territory of Guam could escalate to draw in the world's most powerful nations within 24 hours under a rarely-used clause of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance.

US Forces Korea said that the wargames were needed to "to enhance alliance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula".

It's created to destroy ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

Guam is the southernmost island in what is known as the Mariana Archipelago and the largest island in Micronesia.

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"An attack or threat to Guam is a threat or attack on the United States", said Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo, who said he spoke with White House officials Monday morning.

Even while the missile test is not finalized, it would be hard for Mr. Kim to reverse course once he approves, analysts said.

"There's no real protection against a missile, in my opinion". The US military has a presence on the Korean Peninsula, and in Japan and in its prefectures, such as Okinawa.

"There are layers that are floating in the Pacific in terms of missile defense", he told CNN.

"All of this could lead to further militarization of South Korea", said Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum.

On July 6 in Warsaw, he called "all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behavior".

Asked if people in Guam should be anxious about North Korea's threats, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters en route to Seattle this week, "No". The Ministry of National Defense has also been beefing up its alertness posture against North Korean threats to prepare for eventualities.

However, he expressed some concern over the recent statements of some US politicians, singling out Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham.

Mothers told him they were "really apprehensive" because "you just don't know what's really going to happen".

President Donald Trump is warning of military action "should North Korea act unwisely".

Calvo suggested that this was unsafe talk.

While it is extremely unlikely that Pyongyang would risk the assured annihilation of its revered leadership with a pre-emptive attack on USA citizens, some residents of Guam are concerned.

"You're also talking over 200,000 American citizens, civilians, that will be caught in the crosshairs".

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