North Korean tensions put Americans on tiny Guam in crosshairs

North Korean tensions put Americans on tiny Guam in crosshairs

In response to the threat, North Korea said a plan to fire four missiles at an area near the US Pacific territory of Guam would be ready in days.

The Asian country warned that it is preparing to fire four missiles over Japan and into the waters around Guam - where some 7,000 USA military personnel reside among the island's population of 160,000 American citizens.

President Donald Trump on Friday again delivered a 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. Its military officials intend for them to land a little outside the 14-mile mark that is accepted as the limit of territorial waters, North Korean state media said, subject to Kim Jong-un's agreement.

If North Korea launches missiles on Guam, it would take only about 14 minutes for the rockets to reach the USA territory, the island's Homeland Security spokeswoman announced. The tiny island is home to major U.S. air and naval facilities.

"I feel that the presence of the military on Guam will help us a lot", said Virgie Matson, 51, a resident of Dededo, Guam's most populated village.

South Korea, which fought a war with the North that ended in a stalemate in 1953, is highly technologically advanced and analysts estimate it could develop an atomic device within months of deciding to do so. The military plans to move thousands of U.S. Marines to Guam from Okinawa in southern Japan.

North Korea did not threaten Guam with a nuclear attack, but the crisis between Pyongyang and the United States has stirred fears that a nuclear conflict could break out in the region. An air base with long-range bombers and a naval base that's home port for fast-attack submarines are among the most "strategically important" the USA has in the Pacific, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Because Guam is a US territory, the USA military may launch forces from there without worrying about upsetting a host nation that may object to US actions.


Locals here remember 2013, when North Korea threatened the Andersen Air Force Base, which hosts the U.S. Pacific Command's bomber fleet. US military options range from nothing to a full-on conventional assault by air, sea and ground forces.

Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Thursday that a missile attack on the US territory would breach the USA deterrence against an attack on Japan, which would be a national emergency because it threatens Japan's existence as a nation.

A boy plays near the World War II remnants of a torpedo at Asan Memorial Park on the island of Guam.

Some posters lament the lack of knowledge about Guam on the part of most US residents. Spain's colonial rule continued until the US took control in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.

But there's also some resentment about not being able to 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.

Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Chamorros are the indigenous people of Guam.

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