Guam's residents concerned but have faith in United States military

Elias Hubbard
August 13, 2017

A spokesman for the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army, or KPA, told North Korea's state-run media the KPA is "carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in order to contain the USA major military bases on Guam".

Guam is prepared and its residents feel well-protected should North Korea launch an attack on the USA territory.

The North Korea comments were published after US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that if it continued to threaten the US, it would "face fire and fury like the world has never seen".

"Koreans used to be numb to North Korea's threats, however, it seems different this time, and people are taking it seriously", said Song Jong-gil, an official of Korea Gold Exchange 3M, wheresales of mini gold bars have surged five-fold since August 9.

North Korea ramped up the rhetoric in a new statement issued Wednesday, sourced to a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People's Army (KPA), which said a "preemptive strike is no longer the monopoly of the United States".

The tough new sanctions approved by the Security Council signaled that 15 major powers have aligned against North Korea and are willing to make its economic life a lot more hard, hoping to cut off a billion dollars of its annual export revenues in order to slow down its nuclear program.

A top Chinese expert on North Korea said Pyongyang seemed to have been heartened by Washington's failure to take firm measures in response to earlier actions.

Altogether, 7,000 US military personnel are stationed on Guam.

"Through its participation in this year's ASEAN Regional Forum, North Korea realized the position that it is in, in the global community, and at the same time clearly confirmed continuing with more provocations will only place it in a more hard situation", Cho said.

But, he said, "it's critical that Seoul move with the worldwide society to search for solutions, instead of approaching it as a matter of who gets to lead".

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said there are two scenarios that could trigger war with North Korea.

Trump echoed that threat Thursday, insisting if North Korea took any steps to attack Guam, its leaders would have reason to be nervous. But analysts say the ICBM tests show that Pyongyang is focused on Washington and uninterested in what Seoul brings to the table.

"The KPA Strategic Force will finally complete the plan until mid-August and report it to the commander-in-chief (Kim Jong-un) and wait for his order", the General added.

"If the USA and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so". "If you (were to) pull (the US) out of Japan and South Korea it's the next best location in the Pacific", says Schuster. It has limited self-government, with a popularly elected governor, small legislature, and non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hundreds of thousands of troops and huge arsenals are arrayed on both sides of the tense demilitarized zone between the two Koreas.

Amid the heated words, South Koreans are buying more ready-to-eat meals that could be used in an emergency and the government is planning to expand nationwide civil defence drills planned for on August 23. Spain's colonial rule continued until the USA took control in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 0.06 percent while the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.12 percent and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 0.64 percent. File photo by U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Photo by Robert Hicks/Handout via REUTERS. They hold the United States partly responsible, saying Trump's heated rhetoric is fuelling the flames.

Like other US territories, Guam has a sometimes complicated relationship with the USA mainland but many across the island say despite the threats and concerns they feel reassured and protected by the military - especially in times of tense, geopolitical sparring. "Is this really going to happen?" said Cecil Chugrad, a 37-year-old bus driver for a tour bus company in Guam. Trump on Thursday again urged China to do more to resolve the situation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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