North Korea ramps up its plan to fire missiles at Guam

Pauline Gross
August 19, 2017

Trump, vacationing at his New Jersey golf resort earlier took to Twitter to warn North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that U.S. "military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".

Guam's Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros said Friday it would take 14 minutes for a missile fired from North Korea to reach Guam.

The White House said in a statement that Trump and Xi "agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior".

North Korea did not threaten Guam with a nuclear attack, but the crisis between Pyongyang and the United States has stirred fears that a nuclear conflict could break out in the region.

The President also sought to reassure Americans of their own safety on Thursday, even as he issued another stark warning to North Korea.

"The powerful revolutionary Paektusan army of the DPRK, capable of fighting any war the US wants, is now on the standby to launch fire into its mainland, waiting for an order of final attack", it said. "It shouldn't be Democrats or Republicans, it should everybody be unifying behind our president".

The compounding threats came in a week in which longstanding tensions between the countries risked abruptly boiling over.

New United Nations sanctions condemning the North's rapidly developing nuclear program drew fresh ire and threats from Pyongyang.

KCNA published a wire criticizing Trump for having "let out a load of nonsense about 'fire and fury, ' failing to grasp the on-going grave situation".

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He followed that up by retweeting a U.S. Pacific Command post on the B-1B bombers located on Guam, which have done show-of-force flights over the Korean peninsula as recently as this week and would likely be used in any strike on North Korea.

President Trump responded by escalating the rhetoric. "They should have had me eight years ago".

The SDF spokesman said the country's Aegis ballistic missile defense system was deployed in the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, but would not give a specific location. All over the world the world, they're talking about Guam, and they're talking about you, and I think - tourism, I can say this, your tourism, you're going to go up like tenfold with the expenditure of no money, so I congratulate you. The plan would be sent to leader Kim Jong-un for approval just before or as the US-South Korea drills begin. The annual exercises, called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, are expected to run from August 21 to 31.

The White House added the relationship between Trump and Xi was "extremely close" and "will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem". Kim Jong Un is understood to be the commander-in-chief of the nuclear force.

Guam was claimed by Spain in 1565 and became a US territory in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Its proximity to China, Japan, the Philippines and the Korean Peninsula has long made the island an essential possession of the US military.

Trump also brushed away calls for caution from other world leaders, including Germany's Angela Merkel. "We never do. I don't talk about it", Trump told reporters at his golf club in New Jersey when asked about a preemptive strike.

"I think right now our greatest threat is a miscalculation with all of this rhetoric", he said. "Perhaps she is referring to Germany".

By evening, he seemed to have mellowed a bit. Trump later said that those comments may not have been "tough enough." "You are safe, we are with you 1,000%". While already taking up 30 percent of the island, the American military has been seeking to increase its presence by relocating to Guam thousands of Marines who are now based in Okinawa, Japan.

Other reports by GizPress

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