Missile incoming? Head underground, Guam tells residents

13 August, 2017, 22:02 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Missile incoming? Head underground, Guam tells residents

The exercises are an annual event, but come as Pyongyang says it is readying a plan to fire off four Hwasong-12 missiles toward the tiny island, which is USA territory and major military hub. But it is as steeped in US 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. -South Korea drills begin.

The exercises are expected to run from August 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of troops on the ground and in the sea and air. North Korea claims the exercises are a rehearsal for war, but Washington and Seoul say they are necessary to deter North Korean aggression.

But residents are increasingly anxious over Washington's escalating war of words with North Korea. Along with a bigger set of manoeuvrs held every spring, the exercises are routinely met by strong condemnation and threats of countermeasures from North Korea. North Korea has previously mobilized large crowds to show its resolve when tensions escalate.

Pyongyang is also switching its propaganda machine into high gear by bringing in a large number of foreign journalists to ensure it gets global attention for an event next week in honour of its ruling Kim family on Mount Paektu, a dormant volcano that straddles the Chinese border and is something of a spiritual home for the regime. "On Thursday, Trump reiterated complaints about the US trade imbalance with China and said he would feel "differentl" about the trade issue if China helped more on North Korea.

On North Korea's latest warning to hit Guam, South Korean government officials pointed out it was the first time Pyongyang has ever threatened to hit the American island while specifically mentioning the type of missile that would be used, but said the North was probably doing so to save face after the United Nations sanctions were passed.

Military officials say they plan to move ahead with large-scale U.S. Despite the tough rhetoric, Trump insisted that "nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump".

Guam's governor on Thursday said the USA territory was "well-equipped" to handle any North Korean strike thanks to robust infrastructure that had survived earthquakes and typhoons, after Pyongyang released a detailed plan to launch missiles towards the island. Accusing his predecessors of insufficient action, Trump said it was time somebody stood up to Kim Jong Un.

The council unanimously passed the sanctions last Saturday in NY following North Korea's two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests last month, stepping up restrictions on its worldwide trade and affecting as much as a third of its $3 billion annual export revenues.

According to its reported plan, North Korea would fire four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missiles over Japan and into waters around Guam, home to about 7,000 troops and 160,000 people.

Lavrov said the risks of a military conflict over North Korea's nuclear program are very high and Moscow is deeply anxious by the threats from both sides.

"I'm pro military buildup", said resident Gus Aflague, 60, whose grandfather and brother both joined the U.S. Navy.

Tension in the region rose when North Korea staged two nuclear bomb tests previous year and increased further when it launched two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July in defiance of world powers. "They are here to protect the islands, just in case something happens".

"Let her speak for Germany", Trump said, when asked about the comment.

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