by WorldTribune Staff, August 10, 2017
Guam is prepared and its residents feel well-protected should North Korea launch an attack on the U.S. territory.
The U.S. has two strategically significant bases on Guam, Andersen Air Force Base in the north and Naval Base Guam in the south. The two bases combined house 7,000 U.S. troops.
Guam is also protected by the THAAD missile defense system.
In the North’s latest threat, Gen. Kim Rak-Gyom, who heads Pyongyang’s rocket command, said in a statement carried by state media that the Kim Jong-Un regime was “about to take” military action near Guam.
A plan, to be finalized by mid-August, calls for firing four mid-range missiles hitting waters 30 to 40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles) away from Guam, the general said.
North Korea has threatened Guam in the past.
According to an AP report, the North’s Foreign Ministry in August of 2016 warned that all U.S. military bases in the Pacific including Guam would “face ruin in the face of all-out and substantial attack” by the North’s military. In 2013, state media cited Kim Jong-Un as having ordered his military to prepare plans on launching strikes on U.S. military bases in Guam, Hawaii and South Korea as well as the American mainland.
Andersen Air Force Base houses a Navy helicopter squadron and Air Force bombers that rotate to Guam from the U.S. mainland, including the B-2 stealth bomber, B-1 and B-52.
Naval Base Guam is an outpost for U.S. fast-attack nuclear powered submarines.
The U.S. military has said it plans to increase its presence on Guam and will move thousands of U.S. Marines currently stationed in Japan to the island between 2024 and 2028.
“I’m pro-military buildup,” said resident Gus Aflague, 60, whose grandfather and brother both joined the U.S. Navy, according to the report.
“North Korea has always threatened other countries. They threatened U.S., other countries, and they threaten Guam. It’s a propaganda, that’s how I feel,” he said but added that the military offered an extra reassurance. “I feel safe with our military presence here – Andersen and the Navy.”
Guam is about 2,100 miles (3,380 kilometers) southeast of Pyongyang and 3,800 miles (6,115 kilometers) west of Honolulu in the Pacific Ocean.
Meanwhile, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said during a session of parliament on Aug. 10 that Japan could shoot down North Korean missiles before they reach Guam.
In such a scenario, Japan has the right to activate its Aegis destroyer missile defense system, Onodera said during a session of the National Diet.
Japan lies only about 620 miles to the east of North Korea. Guam lies about 1,600 miles south of Japan.
Most of North Korea’s recent missile tests have landed in the Sea of Japan, which lies between Japan and the eastern coast of the Asian continent.