Guam shrugs off North Korea threat - taking it in stride

Governor of Guam reassures the island's residents after North Korea threat

Governor of Guam reassures the island's residents after North Korea threat 00:48

With North Korea threatening to send a salvo of ballistic missiles close to Guam, a US military hub in the Pacific, pressure could grow for Washington to put its multibillion-dollar missile defence system into use and shoot them out of the air.

North Korea's apparently rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland has fuelled tensions that erupted into a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang this week, unnerving regional powers and global investors.

With North Korea threatening to fire off intermediate-range ballistic missile into the waters near the U.S. island Guam, debate emerged on Thursday (Aug 10) over whether the communist regime would push ahead with its plan despite stern warnings from the United States and its allies.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes instructed priests in Guam's 26 churches to offer prayers for peace between the two nations and courage for military forces on the island.

Missile expert Kim Dong yup, a professor at Kyungnam University's Far East Institute, agreed that the North would carry out its plan, adding that the reclusive regime would not have announced such plans unless it was fully prepared for a U.S. response.

A Korean People's Army spokesman said in a statement carried by state-run KCNA news agency the plan would be put into practice at any moment once leader Kim Jong Un makes a decision.

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The local currency was trading at 1,137.90 won against the United States dollar, down 2.70 won from the previous session's close. The Vix, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 34.8 per cent, the biggest increase since May.

This unprecedented step is to give stronger confidence in certain victory and courage to the Korean people and help them witness the wretched plight of the USA imperialists. Elleman, who analyzed the video, concluded that it most likely "disintegrated" before splashdown, suggesting North Korea is still struggling with re-entry.

Coats and Stewart testified before North Korea conducted its first test of an intercontinental missile on July 4.

But because of its key strategic role in the Pacific, Guam is also a target for North Korea.

"Moon has talked about how South Korea should be in the driver's seat when it comes to dealing with North Korea, but that clearly was just rhetoric", Choi Do-hyun, a 39-year-old office worker in Seoul, said in an interview. Though Elleman thinks the Hwasong-12 would work more often than not, North Korea would need to launch several missiles, and there's just no evidence it has enough deployed and available.

"It would be very hard to eliminate that threat before the artillery fire could create a lot of damage on the southern side", said David Shear, who served as the senior USA defence official for east Asia under former President Barack Obama.

Mr Trump warned on Tuesday that the U.S. would respond with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if North Korea continued its threats.

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Its capital city is Hagatna and its largest city is Dededo. It's the weekend. Go out, have a good time, enjoy the beaches tomorrow and live your lives. While Sen. John McCain is right to worry that making empty threats can embolden an adversary, President Trump does not appear on the verge of ordering a surgical strike against North Korean nuclear and missile sites. I also want to remind national media that Guam is American soil and we have 200,000 Americans in Guam and the Marianas.

"This could elevate the threats to an unprecedented level".

Coffman stresses however North Korea has flown into waters near major countries before - most notably Japan.

The four PAC-3 systems are brought from eastern Japan, as its missile defense is largely centered around Tokyo. But residents are increasingly anxious over Washington's escalating war of words with North Korea.

"So unless those North Korean missiles were to fall short, the Patriots shouldn't have a function to serve in this particular case", he said. In fact, North Korea's weapons are in many ways more closely related to the nuclear weapons dropped by America at the end of World War II than they are to modern nuclear warheads.

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