Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

What the US Military Does on Guam and Why North Korea Cares

What the US Military Does on Guam and Why North Korea Cares

North Korea warned foreign diplomats to leave Pyongyang in 2013 when it suspended work at a joint inter-Korean industrial park and threatened missile strikes on U.S. Pacific bases, notably in Guam and Hawaii.

While immediate confirmation of the reports was not available, Japan has in the past vowed to shoot down North Korean missiles or rockets that threaten to hit its territory. Trump, responding to a report that USA intelligence indicates Pyongyang can now put a nuclear warhead on its long-range missiles, vowed to rain down "fire and fury" if challenged.

He said now was the time to rally behind the U.S. commander-in-chief in order to protect proud citizens living in USA territories.

"If it's going to happen it's going to happen", Loiue Joyce, a woman in her mid-20s, said of the North Korean threat, as she enjoyed a day of shopping.

The exercises are expected to run from August 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of troops on the ground and in the sea and air.

The governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo, said there had been no change to the threat level on the island, despite the harsh words. Pyongyang says it will be ready to send its missile launch plan to Kim for approval just before or as the drills begin.

"Everyone is nervous, but I think it is our families out there stateside that are more nervous for us", Sokala said. After the attack, which North Korea has said it would take less than 18 minutes to reach the island, authorities advise Gambians to steer clear of areas marked "radiation hazard" or "HAZMAT" as well as all damaged areas. "On Thursday, Trump reiterated complaints about the USA trade imbalance with China and said he would feel "differentl" about the trade issue if China helped more on North Korea.

"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".

North Korea says it is in the final stages of preparing a plan to launch four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and into waters off the tiny island of Guam, where about 7,000 US troops are based and 160,000 USA civilians live.

It was not the first time Guam has been put on notice and similar threats made since 2013 led to the US military permanently deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor system on the tiny island.

Clarissa Baumgartner, a 25-year old Guam resident, said Pyongyang's second threat in as many days to train its ballistic missiles on Guam wasn't something she was taking too seriously. "Fight tonight" has long been the motto of USA forces in South Korea to show they're always ready for combat on the Korean Peninsula.

United States officials have said new steps that would target Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang are in the works, but these have appeared to be put on hold to give Beijing time to show it is serious about enforcing new UN sanctions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is no military solution, adding that "an escalation of the rhetoric is the wrong answer".

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