Guam residents stoic in the face of North Korean missile threat

A combined image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump

North Korea raised the stakes just hours later, saying it was considering missile strikes near US strategic military installations on the Pacific US territory of Guam.

The defence ministry started deploying the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system in Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi in western Japan, which Pyongyang warned could be along its missiles' flight path, public broadcaster NHK said.

"The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan".

Even if the launch is intercepted, however, the ensuing consequences could be devastating.

The North's military chief Ri Myong Su responded saying that if the USA continued in its "reckless" behaviour, Pyongyang would "inflict the most miserable and merciless punishment upon all the provokers".

In the letter, the NCCK reiterated its hope to see a peaceful reunification of South and North Korea, but tension has has caused grave concern.

But few of the military options are straightforward, and some former Pentagon officials involved in war planning for North Korea pointed to the complexities.

"The shorter-range missile that can reach South Korea and Japan can accommodate larger nuclear warhead payloads", he said.

The irreverent young staff behind the counter joke about the North Korean threat - they're even trying to ideal a mushroom cloud design in the foam on their lattes.

Called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the exercises are expected to run August 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air.

Workers also carried red banners emblazoned with slogans praising their leaders and the country's strength as President Trump continued to tout military action "if Kim Jong-un utters one overt threat against the US".

As it is, the USA has a robust military presence in the region, including six B-1 bombers in Guam and Air Force fighter jet units in South Korea, plus other assets across the Pacific Ocean and in the skies above.

Meanwhile, US-South Korean joint military exercises are due to begin later this month.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described escalation as "the wrong answer", while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Trump's statements were "very worrying".

French President Emmanuel Macron called for the worldwide community to work with North Korea to "resume the path of dialogue without conditions", following a call with Trump Saturday.

Conservative lawmakers in Seoul in recent days have even called for a "nuclear balance" on the peninsula, saying Seoul should ask Washington to redeploy US nuclear weapons if South Korea is unable to develop its own. So we pray for the safety of the people of North Korea and the people of Guam, of our soldiers, the men and women in uniform.

"Faith is so deeply rooted into our culture", he said.

Guam has since 2013 been home to the only Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) system to be permanently stationed on USA territory.

"Qn attack on Guam is an attack on the US and America will be defended", said Republican Governor Eddie Calvo.

The US stationed some of its atomic weapons in the South following the 1950-53 Korean War, but withdrew them in 1991 when two Koreas jointly declared they would make the peninsula nuclear-free. "Is this really going to happen?" said Cecil Chugrad, a 37-year-old bus driver for a tour bus company in Guam. The tourist district, Tumon, is located between the two military bases.

If he did, Mr. Kim would be seen as weak in the standoff with the United States, said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Kyungnam University's Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

"You're playing with people's lives".

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