Guam 'well-equipped' to handle North Korean threat: governor

Guam 'well-equipped' to handle North Korean threat: governor

Guam 'well-equipped' to handle North Korean threat: governor

Guam is a launching point for USA strategic bombers that the North, virtually flattened by US bombs during the 1950-53 Korean War, sees as particularly threatening.

The speaker of the Guam Legislature says he hopes the island can defend itself in the event of an attack from North Korea.

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump doubled down on his warnings to North Korea Thursday, saying his recent threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang may not have been tough enough.

But on the island, home to a strategic US air base, life continued as normal.

The local government of the US Pacific island has issued guidelines for preparation.

North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. While already taking up 30 percent of the island, the American military has been seeking to increase its presence by relocating to Guam thousands of Marines who are now based in Okinawa, Japan.

The possibility of a nuclear confrontation is considered remote but worldwide alarm has been escalating in recent days.

"U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for the peaceful denuclearization of North Korea - a common goal of the worldwide community - and stressed the importance of strengthening pressure on North Korea in diplomatic, economic terms", the South Korean spokesman said.

Zhao Liang, a 35-year-old bank teller from Beijing, said she won't be cutting short her vacation over North Korea's latest missile threats. Guam stayed under naval rule until 1950, when the Organic Act made Guam a self-governing territory of the US and its residents became USA citizens.

U.S. stocks close lower, snapping Dow's 10-day winning streak
The DJIA was poised for a fall of 1.1%, making for its worst week since a 1.5% drop in the one ended March 24. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 4.02 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,410.15.

Air Force B-1B Lancer Bombers arrived on the island of Guam Friday morning.

Naval Base Guam is an important outpost for US fast-attack nuclear powered submarines that are a key means for gathering intelligence in the region, including off the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea where China has been building military bases on man-made islands that have stirred tension across Asia.

For now, officials are instead focused on changing the missile guidelines, which allow Seoul to have ballistic missiles with a flight range capped at 800 km (497 miles), topped with a maximum 500 kg (1,102 pounds) warhead.

At the Guam Museum, amid an exhibit highlighting the the Japanese occupation of the island during World War II, Gov. Eddie Calvo told CNN that Kim has threatened his island since 2013.

"If not kept well under control, this verbal spat could turn into a military clash, " he said, adding that China should dispatch diplomats to engage in shuttle diplomacy to bring the sides to the negotiating table. Spain's colonial rule continued until the USA took control in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Guam was also a refueling and transfer spot for military personnel heading to Southeast Asia. President William McKinley ordered Guam to be ruled by the U.S. Navy.

Guamanians have served in all major US wars since World War II and see military service as a source of pride. South Koreans, who are still technically at war with their combative neighbours, are no exception. "And not a lot of Americans know that".

-South Korea exercises later this month that North Korea, now finalizing plans to launch a salvo of missiles toward Guam, claims are a rehearsal for war.

Guam elected its first governor in 1970 and, since 1972, has had one nonvoting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. There is also a a strong military presence in the Western Pacific, between North Korea and Guam, not to mention Guam's own defense infrastructure, he said.

Guam is armed with the U.S. Army's defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which can intercept missiles. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher in Honolulu and Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco contributed reporting.

Related news