Public safety officials in Guam have distributed a two-page pamphlet advising island residents how to prepare and react should North Korea follow through on threats to launch a nuclear strike against the US territory.
Officials said the exercises were already scheduled before the heightened tension emanated over Trump’s rhetoric and Pyongyang’s plans to launch ballistic missile toward the U.S. -held territory of Guam, which, if executed, would be highly provocative to the U.S. The joint exercises held annually are met with fierce condemnation and threats of attack by the North Korean regime.
The military said it’s maintaining a state of stern readiness to counter any North Korean threats.
“Even though, I was a little upset about our President, because when he fought back with the same kind of language used by North Korea, I didn’t feel safe”, the resident said.
“Kim Jong Un’s reckless behavior can not be tolerated”, she said, “and I strongly urge the president to explore every avenue to peacefully respond to it and avoid further escalating this situation”.
The South, which hosts US$28,500 (RM122,250) troops on its soil to defend it from the North, is banned from building its own nuclear weapons under an atomic energy deal it signed in 1974 with the United States – its security guarantor that instead offers Seoul a “nuclear umbrella” against potential attacks.
“This might make North Korea think that’s just some verbal threat, so its attitude is getting tougher and tougher”.
But on the island, home to a strategic USA air base, life continued as normal.
Guam is taking every precaution possible following the news that North Korea plans to attack the island. But it is as steeped in USA culture as any small city on the mainland – even if shoppers at its Kmart (the biggest in the world) can look outside and see a lush Pacific island setting.
Moon also waited 10 days to talk to President Trump after North Korea conducted its second ICBM test July 29 because he was on vacation at the time.
Tourists walk through a shopping district in Tamuning, Guam – the nearest U.S. territory to North Korea.
Trump also said he would soon announce a request for a budget increase of “billions of dollars” for anti-missile systems. They threatened USA, other countries, and they threaten Guam.
Tourism-dependent Guam is looking to cash in on its new-found fame as a North Korean missile target, tapping an unlikely promotional opportunity to attract visitors to the idyllic island and prove that all publicity is good publicity.
Amid escalating tensions, Trump tweeted Friday: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely”. Their location in a USA territory means its military is just hours from potential flashpoints in the western Pacific. But if the missiles aren’t expected to hit the island – the stated goal is to have them hit waters well offshore – should it? US bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula several times to show American strength after Pyongyang’s missile tests. It’s also unclear how reliable North Korea’s missiles would be against such a distant target, given that its military has struggled to target effectively in the past.