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Guam Officials Urge Calm After North Korea Threatens Attack

Guam Officials Urge Calm After North Korea Threatens Attack

It's the tiny island in the eye of a geopolitical storm.

North Korea on Thursday warned that it was preparing four intermediate-range missiles (IRBM) to be launched towards the U.S. territory of Guam, according to a state-media report.

Clarissa Baumgartner, a 25-year old Guam resident, said Pyongyang's second threat in as many days to train its ballistic missiles on Guam wasn't something she was taking too seriously.

Baumgartner, a supervisor at a high-end clothing store, said she was confident USA forces on the island's two bases were ready to intervene, and she bore no grudges about that military presence making Guam a North Korean target.

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

"We are prepared for any eventuality, more so than any other American community", he said. "I feel like moving (out of Guam) now".

"He's not going to go around threatening Guam".

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The ministry did not confirm whether Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has already issued an order to shoot down incoming missiles.

"Unfortunately, there seems to be no serious dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, only threats, " he said. "I'm not trying to overlook it or understate it".

Arriving on the island Wednesday, life appears to be proceeding as normal. The bombers were joined by Japanese and South Korean aircraft during their mission. Tourist arrivals in July hit a record for that month. But it is as steeped in USA culture as any small city on the mainland - even if shoppers at its Kmart (the biggest in the world) can look outside and see a lush Pacific island setting. "It is just a shame that such infrastructure is not advertised well to the public and that we are short of emergency supplies", said Yang Uk, senior fellow at Korea Defense and Security Forum, a research institute in Seoul.

Dubbed the "tip of the spear", Guam is a key to the U.S. military's forward deployed presence in the Pacific and is home to thousands of American service members and their families.

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.

As part of its defenses on Guam, the U.S. installed a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in 2013.

Japan, anxious its ballistic missile defences could be overwhelmed by swarm attacks or circumvented by warheads launched on lofted trajectories, is likely to acquire a ground-based version of the Aegis missile defence system. Also, the United States routinely uses Aegis-equipped warships around the island chain of the Marianas, of which Guam is the largest.

"We always maintain a high state of readiness and have the capabilities to counter any threat, to include those from North Korea", spokesman Johnny Michael told CNN.

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"I wish that the superpowers of the world would be able to come out with a different way to fix their problems, you know, instead of having to involve other places that don't even pose a threat".

"There's no real protection against a missile, in my opinion".

It is a small slice of America, and it just happens to be in the middle of the Pacific. The US military has a presence on the Korean Peninsula, and in Japan and in its prefectures, such as Okinawa. And if North Korea's missiles prove no match for US interceptors, Kim Jong Un might be chastened into thinking twice before conducting any more. "There are several layers of ballistic missile defense".

Photo A lookout point at the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea. Neither the United States nor North Korea has embraced the plan. But North Korea has been under sanctions for a long time, and this new round will take months to produce results.

"The North Koreans did not develop their nuclear weapons to drop on the US", Francona told CNN.

However, he expressed some concern over the recent statements of some US politicians, singling out Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham.

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On June 5, 2015, Guam became the first US territory to legalize same-sex marriage.


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