As North plans missile launch, US, S. Korea ready war games

An A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft readies for takeoff at a US air base in Osan South Korea 10 Aug 2017

But the Guam Daily Post said in an editorial that although the island's residents were used to North Korea's threats, the situation was more precarious today because "a feisty, not-so-cool-headed commander-in-chief lives in the White House now". The chilling two-page fact sheet details what citizens of the 162,000-populated island that houses 6,000 US troops should do to survive the worst outcome of the boiling tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

The naval base dates to 1898, when the USA took over Guam from Spain after the Spanish-American War. Guam is also home to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, which can knock out intermediate-range missiles as their approach the island.

"If North Korea actually launches Hwasong-12 missiles towards Guam, they're going to do it with all their other missiles, artillery and tanks ready for action", said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University's Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

A plan, to be finalized by mid-August, calls for firing four mid-range missiles hitting waters 30 to 40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles) away from Guam, the general said.

Recent days have seen a significant escalation of tensions in the region as preparations are put in place for a possible launch in Guam, Japan and South Korea.

Guam, an unincorporated US territory, is a strategic outpost about 2,100 miles south-east of Pyongyang.

South Korea, which spends around a tenth of its annual budget on defense, is already home to some 625,000 local soldiers and more than 28,000 USA troops.

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There's a sense of patriotism among those who cite the island's history of Guam residents serving in the US military.

"I'm pro military buildup", said resident Gus Aflague, 60, whose grandfather and brother both joined the U.S. Navy.

Whether or not North Korea follows through with its threat, which is really just an announcement of the intention to create a plan to present to Kim, it has already dealt a severe blow to the US's credibility. They threatened US, other countries, and they threaten Guam. "I feel it would be a pretty stupid idea to do that", she said.

Zhao Liang, a 35-year-old bank teller from Beijing, said she won't be cutting short her vacation over North Korea's latest missile threats.

In such a scenario, Japan has the right to activate its Aegis destroyer missile defense system, Onodera said during a session of the National Diet. It did so to compensate for US forces diverted from other bases in the Asia-Pacific region to fight in the Middle East.

In addition to the military presence, Guam also relies heavily on tourism to boost its economy, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors drawn to its pristine beaches and luxury resorts in 2016.

This week, the U.S. Defence Department said it was "actively" considering revising bilateral ballistic missile guidelines with South Korea to allow Seoul to build more powerful missiles - at the South's request.

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