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Guam congresswoman calls for peaceful resolution in wake of threat

13 August 2017, 03:20 | Taylor George

Guam congresswoman calls for peaceful resolution in wake of threat

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Guam is about 2,000 miles to North Korea's southeast, about the distance from Los Angeles to Chicago.

Media and conservative politicians in South Korea have asked for a "nuclear balance" on the peninsula amid escalating tensions between Pyongyang and America.

"North Korea has a good fight on their hands if they're going to try to mess with Guam", said resident Andrea Salas.

North Korea's military is considering a plan to launch a missile strike on a USA territory it says poses a threat. The plan would be sent to leader Kim Jong Un for approval just before or as the U.S.

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. North Korean military officials said a plan to fire four mid-range missiles about 25 miles off the island's shores would be finalized later this month.

Because Guam is a USA territory, the US military may launch forces from there without worrying about upsetting a host nation that may object to US actions. The official acknowledged that the situation on the peninsula was "serious in the wake of North Korea's strategic provocation" with the Hwasong-14 test launches, but added, "We don't see things as having reached crisis level".

Rather, Seoul wants to double the maximum payload to 1,000 kg or greater, powerful enough to target underground bunkers or nuclear sites within the North, the officials said.

More than 3,000 kilometres southeast of North Korea, Guam is an important strategic hub for the USA military.

"Now is the right time to actively look at bringing back tactical nuclear weapons", Chung Woo-taik, floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, told Reuters.

"I am 100 percent sure from a number of conversations that, as a last resort, he would use military force to deny them the capability to strike the homeland with a nuclear weapon", said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, who met privately with Mr. Trump on the issue a month ago.

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At the time North Korea said it was launching a telecommunications satellite, but Washington, Seoul and Tokyo believed Pyongyang was testing an intercontinental ballistic missile. While the latest rhetoric causes concern, that's as far as it goes, he said.

The possibility of escalation is made even more acute by the lack of any means of official communication across the Demilitarized Zone, though there has been no easing of the barrage of inflammatory comments in the US and the North since new sanctions against North Korea were announced last week.

'A catastrophe is looming, ' the South's top-selling Chosun daily said in an editorial this week.

The irreverent young staff behind the counter joke about the North Korean threat - they're even trying to flawless a mushroom cloud design in the foam on their lattes. Three weeks later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was legal throughout the U.S., including all its territories.

It aimed to "interdict the enemy forces" in Guam's major military bases, and to "signal a crucial warning to the US", said KCNA.

"In the event of a first strike against Kim, even a non-nuclear option, it is highly likely that Kim would retaliate at least conventionally against South Korea", said James Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral who is now dean of Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

They can not vote in U.S. elections and the island's only representative in Congress has no right to vote.

Alternatively, United States destroyers equipped with Aegis ballistic missile defenses could take down a missile at an even longer range, before it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere.



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