Guam's governor on Thursday said the U.S. territory was "well-equipped" to handle any North Korean strike thanks to robust infrastructure that had survived earthquakes and typhoons, after Pyongyang released a detailed plan to launch missiles towards the island.
North Korea claims it is in the final stages of preparing a plan to launch four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and into waters just off the island of Guam, where about 7,000 US troops are based. 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.
Residents of the tiny territory - just 12 miles at its widest point and circled with lovely beaches - find themselves again caught in the middle of a war of words as a volley of hostile rhetoric was launched between North Korea and the United States, including pointed threats of nuclear action. "They are here to protect the islands, just in case something happens". "So I think it's important to be very strong".
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 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.
Welcome boost from China to global pressure on North Korea
The meeting comes as the US and Asian nations join together to try to step up Pyongyang's economic and diplomatic isolation. Susan Thornton is the top USA diplomat for Asia. "It was a good outcome", Tillerson said Sunday about the sanctions.
Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's official newspaper, said the volunteers had offered to join or rejoin the People's Army after the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) issued a statement on Monday condemning new sanctions imposed by the United Nations in retaliation for North Korean missile tests.
The Pentagon said the United States and South Korea would proceed as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, an action sure to further antagonize North Korea.
Trump declined to say whether the U.S.is considering a pre-emptive military strike as he spoke to reporters before a briefing with his top national security advisers.
It was not the first time Guam has been put on notice and similar threats made since 2013 led to the USA military permanently deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor system on the tiny island. US bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula several times to show American strength after Pyongyang's missile tests.
Guam is about 2,100 miles southeast of Pyongyang, and 3,800 miles west of Honolulu. One third of the island is owned by the US military.
The threat came after Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to stop making threats against the USA and allies. She noted that similar threats in 2013 led to an advanced missile defense system - known as THAAD, for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense - to be permanently placed on the island as a deterrent.