North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.
The tiny USA territory of Guam feels a strong sense of patriotism and confidence in the American military, which has an enormous presence on the Pacific island.
President Donald Trump on Friday again delivered a bold warning to North Korea, tweeting that the USA military is "locked and loaded" if the isolated rogue nation acts "unwisely", escalating an exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations.
Washington could only resort to rhetoric to counter the tirades from the Korean Peninsula, not that we expect it to spell out its own game plan, like perhaps send over four of its ICBMs to the North Korean capital to unmake the day of Kim Jong-un.
Guam is a launching point for US strategic bombers that the North, virtually flattened by USA bombs during the 1950-53 Korean War, sees as particularly threatening. The tourist district of Tumon, home to many of Guam's hotels and resorts, is in between.
There are also two large American naval bases in Japan - Saseba and Yokosuka - that harbor over 20 U.S. Navy ships from the U.S. Seventh Fleet.
"If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so".
"Make sure you understand that this is not the final decision", Robert Carlin, the former chief of the Northeast Asia Division at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, told reporters on a call organized by 38 North, a website that brings together experts on North Korea.
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Officials didn't immediately release any further information and it wasn't immediately clear if anyone was in custody. Both local hospitals said they were prepared for an influx of patients and had extra staff on call to help.
A boy plays near the World War II remnants of a torpedo at Asan Memorial Park on the island of Guam.
Gov. Eddie Calvo and Guam Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros on Wednesday noted the defense systems put in place in the region, such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile system permanently stationed at Andersen Air Force Base.
In playing cat-and-mouse not only with the United States but the entire democratic world, Pyongyang has once again pushed the envelop by targeting this time the tiny American island territory of Guam (population: 160,000), in the Pacific. Along with a bigger set of manoeuvrs held every spring, the exercises are routinely met by strong condemnation and threats of countermeasures from North Korea.
Naval Base Guam is an important outpost for US fast-attack nuclear powered submarines that are a key means for gathering intelligence in the region, including off the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea where China has been building military bases on man-made islands that have stirred tension across Asia. In the past it has threatened USA allies.
Some posters lament the lack of knowledge about Guam on the part of most USA residents.
The U.S. and its allies, Mattis said, are capable of fending off an attack. Residents do not pay USA income taxes or vote in the general election for US president.
Guam elected its first governor in 1970 and, since 1972, has had one nonvoting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) could be a strategic ally of the United States in containing the nuclear bombast from North Korea, with member countries of the regional association not being known to host USA military troops, more so, nuclear weapons. Chamorros are the indigenous people of Guam.
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