After strong words from President Donald Trump promising "fire and fury" in response to continued threats from Pyongyang, North Korea threatened to launch a nuclear-missile attack on the United States military in Guam.
An attack with "enveloping fire" against USA military interests on the Pacific island could be conducted at any moment once approval has been given by leader Kim Jong-un, a North Korean army spokesman said yesterday, according to state media.
Hours earlier, as North Korea's war of words with US President Donald Trump intensified, Pyongyang said it was developing a plan to launch four intermediate-range missiles towards the Pacific island. "President Trump's comments about North Korea have created nervousness".
Trump did issue an executive order in his first days in office calling for a review to ensure the US nuclear deterrent is "modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready" and appropriately tailored for 21st century threats. 'Everyone's afraid, because we're dealing with powers that's beyond us'.
The U.S. took control of Guam in 1898, when Spanish authorities surrendered to the U.S. Navy.
"I'm not saying we shouldn't be anxious because we never know if they'll decide to follow through this time", said Tayana Pangelinan, a resident of Dededo, the island's most populated village.
Over the years, North Korea has regularly made incendiary threats against the US, Japan and South Korea, several times threatening to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire".
The declaration might come as a surprise to some mainland Americans, but North Korea has long had a hostile eye turned toward Guam, which is about 2,100 miles away from the Korean Peninsula. The Chinese government called for cool heads. But that doesn't make the current situation any easier for them to process.
"In many different forms, albeit not as colourful, the USA has always said that if North Korea ever attacks, the regime will cease to exist", Mr Crowley writes. "This excludes military action", Ray said. "Is this really going to happen?" said Cecil Chugrad, a 37-year-old bus driver for a tour bus company in Guam.
"A military route can not resolve the conflict", Schaefer said.
Pyongyang responded angrily to the United Nations Security Council's adoption this weekend of new, tougher sanctions spearheaded by Washington, following ground-breaking long-range missile tests last month that showed the North could potentially reach the continental United States with its missiles. The situation was "very risky", said Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Institute for International Strategic Studies of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China. It's also unclear how reliable North Korea's missiles would be against such a distant target, but no one was writing off the danger completely.
Additionally, the U.S. military at Guam has the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile-interceptor system, perhaps the most reliable anywhere. He wrote on Twitter that "literally nothing has happened in the last 201 days to increase the overall power of the U.S. nuclear arsenal".
Its importance has declined since World War II, given the creation of military bases in Japan and South Korea, but analysts say it still plays a key role in the Pacific.
Washington has been testing its missile defenses in response to the North's stepped-up development and the current escalation of tensions could lead to pressure for the USA military to try to shoot down the North's missiles in midflight if they are heading toward Guam.
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