Clarissa Baumgartner, a 25-year old Guam resident, said Pyongyang's second threat in as many days to train its ballistic missiles on Guam wasn't something she was taking too seriously.
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - Residents of the tiny Pacific island of Guam say they're afraid of being caught in the middle of escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea after Pyongyang announced it was examining plans for attacking the strategically important US territory.
The strip of land in the western Pacific Ocean is roughly the size of Chicago, and just 4 miles (6 km) wide at its narrowest point.
Though local officials downplayed any threat, people who live and work on the island, which serves as a launching pad for the US military, said Wednesday they could no longer shrug off the idea of being a potential target.
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It's not the first time North Korea has threatened Guam, which is a crucial, strategic hub for US forces in the Pacific. If carried out, it would be its most provocative missile launch to date.
An U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer, assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a training mission on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017.
Andersen Air Force Base hosts a Navy helicopter squadron and Air Force bombers that rotate to Guam from the US mainland. Altogether, 7,000 US military personnel are stationed on Guam. The military plans to move thousands of U.S. Marines to Guam from Okinawa in southern Japan.
"I'm pro military buildup", said resident Gus Aflague, 60, whose grandfather and brother both joined the U.S. Navy. The air base was built in 1944, when the USA was preparing to send bombers to Japan during World War II. They threatened USA, other countries, and they threaten Guam. Earlier Wednesday, North Korean media said that a plan for such an attack would be drafted by mid-August. In 2013, state media cited leader Kim Jong Un as having ordered his military to prepare plans on launching strikes on USA military bases in Guam, Hawaii and South Korea as well as the American mainland. In 2013, the Army sent a missile defence system to Guam called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence or THAAD.
"There are many moods on Guam right now", Hartz says.