“Guam is American soil”.
But because of its key strategic role in the Pacific, Guam is also a target for North Korea.
North Korea’s military is “examining the operational plan” to strike areas around the USA territory of Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles, state-run news agency KCNA said early Wednesday local time.
The American military presence on Guam consists of two bases – Andersen Air Force Base in the north and Naval Base Guam in the south – which are home to 7,000 US troops.
“Well, I am not anxious about that because the Governor and Home Security Office told us not to worry about that”, 64-year-old resident Maria Teehan said.
“Though it is impossible to rule out a possibility of a conflict by misunderstandings, I think both nations know what their limits are because they have been dealing with each other since 1953, when the Korean War ended with a truce”.
The possibility of a nuclear confrontation is considered remote but worldwide alarm has been escalating in recent days.
Should US allies refuse to let the military to launch strikes from their territory, Guam would be the most likely place from which to launch airstrikes on North Korea, Schuster says, adding that this is how Kim will regard it. North Korean military officials said a plan to fire four mid-range missiles about 25 miles off the island’s shores would be finalized later this month.
Guam is the closest USA territory to North Korea at a distance of approximately 2,130 miles.
Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota were deployed to Guam Tuesday. Their location in a USA territory means its military is just hours from potential flashpoints in the western Pacific.
Pyongyang’s initial threat to Guam came after the U.S. flew two B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula on Tuesday local time.
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.
“The rhetoric and actions from North Korea during this period of tension don’t mark a significant departure from past periods of tension in my view”. Pyongyang has laid out plans to strike near the USA territory of Guam. “I feel safe with our military presence here – Andersen and the Navy”. As a result, Guam’s economy relies heavily on the U.S. Armed Forces, which owns a third of the island. Guam was also a refuelling and transfer spot for people heading to Southeast Asia, and many refugees fleeing Saigon were evacuated through Guam. Residents do not pay USA income taxes or vote in the general election for US president. The air base was built in 1944, when the US was preparing to send bombers to Japan during World War II. A huge red, white and blue ribbon is outside the airport terminal.
“Now you’re looking at a possible strike on American territory (like) Guam, and also the mainland of the United States”. Trump said. He did not specify what they might be.
The strip of land in the western Pacific Ocean is roughly the size of Chicago, and just 4 miles (6 km) wide at its narrowest point.
The tension comes on the heels of an intelligence report that suggested North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons to fit on missiles.
Even if everything went right for the Pentagon, a USA strike campaign against North Korea would take up to a week to be effective, said Kristensen.
Mount suggested an attempt to shoot down the missile might be exactly what Kim Jong Un wants, as missing even one projectile would be an embarrassment for the USA military.
“Two years ago a permanent deployment of that missile system was placed on Guam”, he said.