Residents of Guam awakened to the reality of being at ground zero in the--so far--sabre-rattling rhetorical war between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. On cable TV screens, the outlines of Guam, illustrating the routes from Guam to the Korean peninsula taken by B-1 bombers from Andersen Air Force Base projecting U.S. power were constantly repeated.
The Wall Street Journal gave the story front page play, after correcting its initial misspelling of the base name in an early edition.
Wall Street Journal: SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his military to examine a plan for a missile strike on the U.S. military base on Guam, making an unusually explicit threat to attack the U.S.The threat was published by North Korea’s official media Wednesday morning and came just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump cautioned North Korea to not “make any more threats” to the U.S., warning of a response of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”While North Korea’s state media regularly warns of strikes on the U.S. homeland and other U.S. military assets in Asia, the threats are usually vague and rarely linked to a direct order from Mr. Kim.
The Reuters news service told the world about it: "North Korea said on Wednesday it is 'carefully examining' a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam with missiles, just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with 'fire and fury.' A spokesman for the Korean People's Army, in a statement carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency, said the strike plan will be 'put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment' once leader Kim Jong Un makes a decision.In another statement citing a different military spokesman, North Korea also said it could carry out a pre-emptive operation if the United States showed signs of provocation.
The New York Times said the Guam threat was a response to Trump's hot words: "Undaunted, North Korea warned several hours later that it was considering a strike that would create “an enveloping fire” around Guam, the western Pacific island where the United States operates a critical Air Force base. In recent months, American strategic bombers from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base have flown over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.
Guam leaders were reduced to offering comforting statements to island residents facing this threat:
Governor Eddie Baza Calvo: Good morning my dear people of Guam, I know we woke up to media reports of North Korea’s talk of revenge on the United States and this so-called new-found technology that allows them to target Guam. I am working with Homeland Security, the Rear Admiral, and the United States to ensure our safety.I want to reassure the people of Guam that currently there is no threat to our island or the Marianas. I spoke to Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield who confirmed this with me. My Homeland Security Advisor who is in communications with Homeland Security and Department of Defense notes that there is no change in threat level resulting from North Korea events. HSA George Charfauros reminds us that there are several levels of
George Charfauros, Guam's Homeland Security Advisor
defense all strategically placed to protect our island and our nation. Additionally, I have reached out to the White House this morning. An attack or threat to Guam is a threat or attack on the United States. They have said that America will be defended. I also want to remind national media that Guam is American soil and we have 200,000 Americans in Guam and the Marianas. We are not just a military installation. With that said, I want to ensure that we are prepared for any eventuality. I will be convening the Unified Coordination Group, which includes myself and the Rear Admiral, to discuss the state of readiness of our military and our local first responders. My office will continue to provide information to our community. What information we are given, we will pass it on to you.
Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo: “Recent reports regarding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities are deeply troubling, but I remain confident that Guam remains safe and protected. President Trump must work in partnership with the international community to de-escalate the growing tensions in the region and prevent North Korea from advancing its nuclear program further. While the recent sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council were an effort to demonstrate to Kim Jung-Un that his actions will not go unanswered, President Trump must show steady leadership as these sanctions are carried out. The international community has clearly stated, through the UN Security Council, that North Korea’s escalatory actions are an international problem, and we must continue to engage our partners and allies to bring a peaceful resolution to the North Korean threat. Again I want to reiterate that Guam remains safe, and I am confident in the ability of U.S. defenses to protect our island and allies in the region.”
Guam Senator Frank Blas Aguon, Jr.:
"The United States of America has the most effective and efficient military capable of defending Guam's
interest against any threat in this region," said Senator Aguon. "Readiness is the key here- it is basically the military’s ability to fight and win wars. Are we ready to defend and protect the people of Guam from any threat in the region? We are Ready!"
If you're still worried as a Guam resident, the Offices of Homeland Security and Civil Defense issued this reassuring news release:
No Change in Threat Level from Recent North Korea Events
The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense (GHS/OCD), in conjunction with the Mariana Regional Fusion Center (MRFC), our federal and military partners, continue to monitor the recent events surrounding North Korea and their threatening actions.
“As of this morning, we have not changed our stance in confidence that the U.S. Department of Defense is monitoring this situation very closely and is maintaining a condition of readiness, daily,” stated George Charfauros, Homeland Security Advisor. “We will continue to keep the public updated on any changes or requests for action. For now, we advise the community to remain calm, remember that there are defenses in place for threats such as North Korea and to continue to remain prepared for all hazards.”
Multiple news organizations report that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit on its missiles. International news organizations also reported that North Korea threatened to carry out a plan to fire missiles at Guam and the surrounding areas.
At this point, we know the following:
All information is coming from media reports.
The Guam Homeland Security Advisor is in regular contact with national Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. He has not received any statement that there is an imminent threat.
The Governor of Guam will meet with local military officials to determine if there is any update to military stance.
There is no imminent threat to the safety of the residents and visitors of Guam and the CNMI at this time.
GHS/OCD advises the community to stay up to date by listening to the news or visit GHS/OCD via social media:
- GHS/OCD Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Guam-Homeland-SecurityOffice-of-Civil-Defense-178975602144519/
- GHS/OCD Twitter: @ghsocd
- GHS/OCD Instagram: @guamhomelandsecurity
For more information, contact Public Information Officer, Jenna Gaminde at (671) 478-0208 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.