Doubts over Japan's ability to defend against missiles

Doubts over Japan's ability to defend against missiles

Doubts over Japan's ability to defend against missiles

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 USA troops are based and 160,000 US civilians live.

A North Korean attack or an American pre-emptive strike is unlikely, said John Delury, an associate professor of East Asian Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul.

North Korea has taken a major step forward in realizing its goal of becoming a nuclear power, according to a Washington Post report on a confidential USA intelligence assessment that concludes Pyongyang has developed a nuclear warhead capable of fitting.

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.

(CNN) - President Donald Trump will speak by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday night about North Korea, he told reporters.

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 U.S. military.

Eric Talmadge is an Associated Press writer.

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.

"There is a growing fear that the escalating tension between North Korea and the United States, which matches power with power, could lead to a worst-case scenario", Ms. Choo said.

In response to North Korean missile tests, the United States military has tested its missile defense system in May, and multiple times in July, although they later admitted one had failed. But US officials say they may be misreading US capabilities - the US has other assets in the region, mainly Navy ships that could shoot down the missiles as well as THAAD.

Guamanians have served in all major US wars since World War II and see military service as a source of pride. The two bases combined house 7,000 US troops.

Equities fall on rising tension between US & North Korea
On the currency markets, the pound was up 0.03% against the dollar at $1.2981 but down 0.23% against the euro at 1.0999 euros. In the eurozone, the Paris CAC 40 dropped nearly 0.7 per cent to 5,081.92 points compared with the closing level on Thursday.

Pyongyang doubled down on its threats to launch missiles at Guam early on Thursday, announcing a potential plan on state media for the "simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 (rockets)".

"Since the subway stations in South Korea have enough depth and strength, we will be able to survive attacks".

During the Vietnam War, the Air Force sent 155 B-52 bombers to Guam to hit targets in Southeast Asia. The tiny Pacific island is a major USA military hub and home to 163,000 people. Chamorros are the indigenous people of Guam.

In Guam's capital Hagatna, residents were unruffled by Pyongyang's rhetoric. Its chief languages are English and Chamorro. They are both managed under Joint Base Marianas.

Plush hotels along Guam's Tumon beach didn't seem in a rush to prepare either. The air base was built in 1944, when the USA was preparing to send bombers to Japan during World War II.

"Definitely, I know Guam is a pretty good target because it's important to the USA because of the military", she said.

Andersen Air Force Base houses a Navy helicopter squadron and Air Force bombers that rotate to Guam from the US mainland, including the B-2 stealth bomber, B-1 and B-52. It has two 2-mile (3-kilometer) -long runways and large fuel and munitions storage facilities.

Asked if people in Guam should be anxious about North Korea's threats, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters en route to Seattle this week, "No". The U.S. recaptured the territory three years later. It did so to compensate for USA forces diverted from other bases in the Asia-Pacific region to fight in the Middle East. North Korea has been increasingly sensitive to the exercises lately because they reportedly include training for "decapitation strikes" to kill Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.

"North Korea's missiles won't fly in the direction of Guam", he said.

But even these systems have their limitations and can't guarantee protection from shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles.

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