North Korean tensions put Americans on tiny Guam in crosshairs

Trevor Jackson
August 13, 2017

Seoul is 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) to the northwest, Tokyo is 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) north and Taipei is 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) west.

"Now is time to start reviewing nuclear armament", the Korea Herald said in an editorial yesterday.

Under an atomic energy agreement signed with the U.S. in 1974, South Korea is banned from building its own nuclear arms, and Washington has guaranteed to protect the South under a "nuclear umbrella" against potential aggression. A reminder of that conflict are the 23,500 US troops stationed across the border in South Korea.

"On the North Korean side", he says, "there are differences of specificity".

"A catastrophe is looming", the South's top-selling said in an editorial this week.

"We need to have our own military options to overwhelm the North", the Korea Economic Daily said in an editorial earlier this week. The Aegis destroyers might actually have a better shot than the Patriot missiles, but only by sailing dangerously close to North Korean waters.

The move highlights just how seriously American allies in East Asia are taking the war of words between President Donald Trump and the North Korean regime, and the real possibility that Pyongyang might actually let the missiles fly.

Guam has posted emergency guidelines to help residents prepare for any potential nuclear attack as North Korea threatens to fire missiles at the US Pacific territory.

There are two major bases on Guam: Andersen Air Force Base in the north and Naval Base Guam in the south.

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"While we have heard threats like this in the past, I take them very seriously and continue to engage with our DOD partners to ensure that Guam and our people remain safe", she said, adding that Trump's statements "concerning and unhelpful".

Mr Turnbull said the stability of the world was being put at risk by North Korea, and he was committed to working with the USA to resolve the situation through diplomatic and economics means.

The Obama administration began a modernization of the nuclear arsenal, expected to cost $400 billion through 2024, that would upgrade weapon production facilities, refurbish warheads and build new submarines, bombers and ground-based missiles.

Reports say, however, that Trump has done no particular improvements to the US's nuclear arsenal, instead simply continuing maintenance work launched by former President Barack Obama, which will take years to complete.

North Koreans have lived for decades with the state media message that war is imminent, the to blame and their country is ready to defend itself.

Chinese newspaper the Global Times called on Beijing on Friday to "stay neutral" if the North strikes first in a possible military conflict with the US.

Guam's faced previous threats of a rocket attack from North Korea, which has been conducting frequent tests of its nuclear missile capability.

Authorities said the regional tensions had not dampened tourists' appetite for the island.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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