Guam's residents feel US patriotism but growing concern

President Donald J. Trump

The tiny US territory of Guam feels a strong sense of patriotism and confidence in the American military, which has an enormous presence on the Pacific island. It's located 2,100 miles south of North Korea and 4,000 miles west of Hawaii.

Officials haven't raised the US territory's threat level even after Pyongyang laid out plans to strike near the island in the coming weeks, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said.

The president appeared to draw another red line that would trigger a US attack against North Korea and "big, big trouble" for its leader, Kim Jong Un.

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

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

The military said it's maintaining a state of stern readiness to counter any North Korean threats. But pushing the envelope, or just threatening to do so, is what North Korea does best.

Trump tweeted Friday: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely". Guam officials are disseminating fact sheets to help residents prepare for a possible missile attack from North Korea.

The heightened military activity on the peninsula this time is a concern because it could increase the possibility of a mishap or an overreaction of some sort by either side that could spin into a more serious escalation. He added that Kim Jong Un should "take heed of the" U.N.'s security council, which believes North Korea "poses a threat to global security and stability".

In August previous year, the North's Foreign Ministry warned that all US military bases in the Pacific including Guam would "face ruin in the face of all-out and substantial attack" by the North's military.

"The (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons", Mattis told the North Korea leader in a Department of Defense press release.

Threatening to fire a volley of missiles toward a major USA military hub _ and the home to 160,000 American civilians _ may seem like a pretty bad move for a country that is seriously outgunned and has an terrible lot to lose.

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

"We are with you a thousand percent", Mr Trump said, according to video of the call posted on Mr Calvo's Facebook page.

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. "The plan is under consideration, then it's supposed to be handed to Kim Jong Un, then he'll make a decision", Carlin said. USA allies Japan and South Korea quickly vowed a strong reaction if the North were to follow through.

As nuclear-armed North Korea's missile stand-off with the U.S. escalates, calls are mounting in the South for Seoul to build nuclear weapons of its own to defend itself -which would complicate the situation even further.

"Sim Tack, a senior analyst for private intelligence firm Stratfor, said the Japanese batteries are designed for protecting the area where they are deployed, "(they are) not meant to shoot missiles out of the sky as they pass over Japan at high altitude". Trump said. He did not specify what they might be.

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