Why Does North Korea Want To **** Guam

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Tensions between North Korea and the United States escalated on Aug. 8, after President Trump warned the country to stop threatening the U.S. (Victoria Walker,Danielle Kunitz/The Washington Post) North Korea said it was reviewing plans to strike U.S. military targets in Guam with medium-range ballistic missiles to create “enveloping fire,” according to state media. KCNA: "The nuclear war hysteria of the U.

S. authorities including Trump has reached an extremely reckless and rash phase for an actual war." — Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) August 8, 2017 The message came hours after President Trump warned North Korea that it will be “met with fire and fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before” if the country does not stop threatening the United States. The threats follow a unanimous vote by the U.

N. Security Council to impose strict new sanctions on North Korea. North Korea’s state media outlets have often warned of strikes against the United States, but the threats are usually vague and do not typically include targets this specific, the Wall Street Journal said. On Wednesday, North Korea's military said it will complete a plan by mid-August to launch four mid-range ballistic missiles over Japan and drop them within 18 to 24 miles of Guam "in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the U.

S.," according to Yonap, a Korean news agency, which also said the military's top commander would need to finalize the plan. That Kim Jong Un is eyeing Guam, the sovereign U.S. territory with a strategic airfield and naval station, is no surprise to the island's 160,000 people. “Every time there is some saber rattling in this part of the world, Guam is always part of the occasion,” said Robert A.

Underwood, president of the University of Guam and a former delegate to the House of Representatives. “When you’re from Guam and live on Guam, it’s disconcerting, but not unusual,” Underwood told The Washington Post. The governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo, said on Aug. 9 that there has been "no change in the threat level to Guam," after North Korea and President Trump traded threats. (Eddie Baza Calvo) The governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo, posted an address early Wednesday morning on YouTube, telling island residents not to worry.

“I know we woke up to media reports of North Korea’s talk of revenge on the United States and this so-called newfound technology that allows them to target Guam,” the governor said. “I'm working with Homeland Security, the rear admiral and the United States to ensure our safety, and I want to reassure the people of Guam that currently there is no threat to our island or the Marianas.” Calvo said that “there is no change in the threat level resulting from North Korea events” and that “there are several levels of defense, all strategically placed to protect our island and our nation.

” Noting that “Guam is American soil” and that “an attack or threat on Guam is an attack or threat on the United States,” Calvo said he had reached out to the White House and that officials have assured him that the island “will be defended.” “With that said, I want to ensure that we are prepared for any eventuality,” Calvo said, adding that he is convening a group “to discuss the state of readiness of our military and our local first responders.

” “May God bless the people of Guam, and may God bless the United States of America,” he concluded. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Guam is in no more danger than any other place, adding that North Korea’s threats naming the island as a target did not deter him from making a scheduled refueling stop there on his return from Malaysia. Still, the threat of military strikes rankled some on the island.

“I’m a little worried, a little panicked. Is this really going to happen?” Cecil Chugrad, a 37-year-old bus driver for a tour bus company in Guam, told the Associated Press. “If it’s just me, I don’t mind, but I have to worry about my son. I feel like moving (out of Guam) now.” [‘I’m worried about moose, not missiles.’ Alaskans on North Korea threat: Shrug] At about 4,000 miles west of Hawaii, and 2,200 miles southeast of North Korea, Guam is on the edge of U.

S. power in the Pacific. Its combined Navy and Air Force installation, Joint Region Marianas, is the home port for nuclear submarines, a contingent of Special Operations forces and the launching point of flights for strategic bombers conducting rotational flights over Japanese territories and in the Korean Peninsula. Guam has been a strategic linchpin since Spain relinquished control of the island to the U.

S. Navy after the Spanish-American War in 1898. Japanese forces sped to the island after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and captured it, subjecting its people to violence that some historians estimate to have killed 10 percent of its population. The island just celebrated its 73rd Liberation Day, commemorating the start of the U.S.-led effort to liberate Guam on July 10, 1944, Underwood said.

Now, the island paradise relies on tourism and military activity to buoy its economy, which is marked by high unemployment. There have been recent efforts to grant Guam more control over its government, including support from the United Nations. Guamanians cannot cast ballots for president in U.S. elections, but they do vote for party delegates in primaries and have a nonvoting delegate to the U.S.

House of Representatives. Robert E. Kelly, an expert on North Korea at Pusan National University in South Korea, said that the North Koreans always respond to threats with the “most outlandish rhetoric” but that Pyongyang also knows that attacking the United States would be suicidal. “They’re not apocalyptic ideologues like Osama bin Laden, willing to risk everything on some suicide gamble,” Kelly said.

A confidential assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency says that North Korea has already developed a miniaturized nuclear weapon that can fit on top of an ICBM. (The Washington Post) North Korea has warned of strikes against the United States before. Last August, the country’s Foreign Ministry said that all U.S. military bases in the Pacific would “face ruin in the face of all-out and substantial attack,” according to the AP.

This followed a 2013 warning that Kim Jong Un had ordered his military to prepare plans to attack U.S. bases in Guam, Hawaii, South Korea and the continental United States. [North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say] Guam’s growing strategic importance is due to its sovereign status, Underwood said. The United States must get clearance from ally nations like South Korea and Japan to build up its military hardware in the event of defense escalations, which can be a lengthy process.

But Guam has been used to project power with immediacy, Underwood said. The island is also home to a terminal high-altitude area defense battery, which targets ballistic missiles. The presence of THAAD systems in South Korea has drawn consternation from Pyongyang and Beijing, which view it as an escalation. A pair of B-1B Lancer bombers arrived in Guam from South Dakota this week to fly with South Korean and Japanese counterparts.

That mission follows an operation over the Korean Peninsula in late July in which the warplanes were scrambled from Guam as a response to North Korea’s second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts said could be capable of reaching as far as New York. An Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber prepares to take off Tuesday for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.

(U.S. Air Force) It was unclear Tuesday whether the Pentagon had elevated the readiness posture of its Guam-based fleet of ships and planes after the threat from North Korea. “We always maintain a high state of readiness and have the capabilities to counter any threat, to include those from North Korea,” Johnny Michael, a spokesman for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, said in a statement to The Post.

The numerous installations on Guam host about 6,000 troops, a number that is growing as the United States seeks to rebalance its forces in the Pacific amid the Chinese military's growing reach and North Korea’s increasingly sophisticated nuclear program. In 2014, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said 60 percent of the Navy and 60 percent of combat air forces would be located in the region.

[Test firing a ballistic missile in California was routine. Growing tension with North Korea is not.] “Guam has always been a central part of our plans — certainly a central part of the Navy’s plans but now a central part of the entire Department of Defense’s plans,” he said at the time. That leaves an island of U.S. citizens watching the news closely as posturing escalates on both sides of the Pacific.

Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo, the island's representative in the U.S. Congress, said in a statement Wednesday that “North Korea's most recent threat to target Guam is dangerous and it further heightens tensions in our region.” Underwood pointed out that “most of the time the overheated rhetoric comes from North Korea. This time it’s coming from the U.S. side.” Guamanians share two common sentiments about their role in foreign policy, Underwood said.

Media reports focus on the importance of military installations, making locals feel as if they are bit players on a large stage, he said. Others would rather shed the crosshairs. “People say ‘I hate being a target. We’re the tip of the spear. Why can’t we be another part of the spear?’ ” Underwood said. But Guam also has a proud tradition of supplying U.S. troops, with a disproportionate number of recruits coming from there and American Samoa, Underwood said.

Eighteen Guamanian troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, pointing to an outsize sacrifice for a territory with a population smaller than that of Eugene, Ore. “We have more skin and more land in the game,” Underwood said. This post has been updated. Read more: Tillerson to North Korea: ‘We are not your enemy’ Why Trump’s North Korea warnings were ‘unnecessary, scary, irresponsible’ Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ statement echoes North Korea’s own threats

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Tens of thousands turn out for show of force in Kim Il Sung SquareIt follows images of U.S. stealth bombers flying over PyeongtaekTensions on Korean peninsula rising after Pyongyang's latest nuclear testNorth Korea also said it had entered a 'state of war' with South KoreaBy Leon Watson and Snejana Farberov Published: 23:51 EST, 29 March 2013 | Updated: 09:34 EST, 31 March 2013 Why does Kim Jong Un seem to have a problem with Austin, Texas?That is the question that Twitter users and foreign affairs analysts alike have been asking themselves ever since the release of North Korea's 'U.

S. mainland strike plan' Friday.The secretive regime made public photographs of Kim Jong Un inside his military command center signing the order to put rockets on standby to attack the U.S. mainland. Retaliation: A map appears to show potential targets of the rocket attacks. Kim's order followed a drill by two U.S. stealth bombers over the Korean Peninsula the previous day Trajectory: By superimposing a map of the U.

S. onto the photograph of the North Korean war room, researchers at the University of Alabama were able to chart its predicted path The news came on the same day that the country announced it was in a 'state of war' with neighboring country South Korea. The pictures, which appeared in the state-run Rodong newspaper, show Kim surrounded by his generals, large-scale maps and diagrams during an 'emergency meeting' at an undisclosed location.

A chart marked 'U.S. mainland strike plan' appears to show missile trajectories that the NK News web site estimates targets several locations in the U.S.Inexplicably, among the obvious choices of prime target cities like New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles, people around the world were shocked to find the western cultural hub best known for music festivals and smug hipsters. Twitter users wasted no time poking fun at the North Korean regime by suggesting possible explanations behind Un's decision to attack Austin under the hashtag #whyaustin.

Joke's on Jong: Twitter users wasted no time poking fun at the North Korean regime under the hashtag #whyaustin Theories: One humorous explanation suggested by a Twitter user is that Un actually meant to bomb Boston Odd pick: Texans marveled why the reclusive North Korean leader would choose to take on the Lone Star state's center of hipster culture User Dustin Blanchard suggested that Un 'just wanted a brisket.

'The humorous post was accompanied by a photo of North Korea's plump leader with the caption: ‘BBQ sold pout?! It's barely noon.' Blanchard followed up by writing: 'All we Austinites really expect is an incredible quality of life...and not to be vaporized.' One popular tongue-in-cheek theory was that Kim Jong got upset over being denied an invitation to the annual music and multimedia festival South by Southwest that took place in Austin earlier this month.

  'You know who is angry about missing Prince during SXSW? Kim Jong Un. No Purple Rain = Reign Of Terror,' wrote a Twitter commenter by the user name Sweet John.Even Austin city government got in on the whyaustin bandwagon, tweeting, 'Not to worry Austin…we’re prepared' with a link to a 1951 'duck and cover' instructional video on how to behave during a nuclear attack.  VIDEO  Duck and Cover! Bert shows you what to do in nuclear attack On a more serious note, Jeremi Suri, Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas, speculated that North Korea's animosity toward the popular college town could stem from the fact that it is home to a Samsung semiconductor enterprise with strong ties to the regime's arch-enemy, South Korea.

 'Austin has a lot of international cache. It's seen as a center of music, as a center of exciting technology, and they want to show they can threaten that,' Suri told KVUE. 'They want to show that they can do something to get attention.'But Roger Baker, vice president of East Asian Analysis at Stratfor, offered a more logical explanation for Un's unexpected choice.  'What you are really seeing is an older map from when George W.

Bush was president,' Baker told KXAN. 'Hitting Texas would have been a symbolic target.'The missile trajectories shown in the photographs released by NK News are not entirely clear, and could also be pointing to the U.S. Army installation at Fort Hood located 70 miles north of Austin.Scroll down for videos War bunker: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over an urgent operation meeting with his generals after the country put its rocket units on standby to attack U.

S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific On a war footing: Kim Jong Un makes notes after ordering strategic rocket forces to be on standby to strike U.S. and South Korean targets at any timeloser inspection of the chart shows the flight path missing these targets as it cuts through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

The order from leader Kim Jong Un came after the U.S. flew two stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula.In an escalation of long-standing tensions with Seoul, a provocative statement was released by North Korea's government, ruling party and other organizations by the country's official news agency. The statement read: 'From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly.

'North Korea has been threatening to attack South Korea and US military bases almost on a daily basis since the beginning of March.But few believe the country well engage in full-scale war. The two Koreas have been in a technical state of war because their 1950-53 conflict ended under an armistice and not a peace treaty - however Pyongyang declared the truce no longer valid in March. Threat: A large number U.

S. military bases in the Pacific are within range of the new missiles - shown hereMeanwhile, thousands of North Koreans turned out for a mass rally today in support of their leader Kim Jong Un's call to arms. Soldiers and students chanted 'death to the U.S. imperialists' and 'sweep away the U.S. aggressors' at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang. The U.S. said the stealth bomber practice runs were designed to show its ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes 'quickly and at will.

' Seoul, which has been carrying out routine military drills with America, says it is closely monitoring movements in North Korea.Many Western experts believe the aggressive posturing is part of a grand master plan to force Washington to the negotiating table and put pressure the new president in Seoul to change policy on North Korea. Pyongyang is angry about a hike in sanctions, imposed after it carried out a third nuclear test in February.

A full-blown North Korean attack is unlikely. However, there are fears of a more localised conflict. Tens of thousands of North Koreans turned out for the mass rally at the main square in Pyongyang in support of their leader Kim Jong Un's call to arms North Koreans gather at a rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea University students punch the air as they march through Kim Il Sung Square Placards read: 'Let's crush the puppet traitor group' and 'Let's rip the puppet traitors to death!'Narushige Michishita, director of the Security and International Studies Program at Japan's National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, isn't convinced North Korea is capable of attacking Guam, Hawaii or the U.

S. mainland. He says Pyongyang hasn't successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile. But its medium-range Rodong missiles, with a range of about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers), are 'operational and credible' and could reach U.S. bases in Japan, he says. The country's official KCNA news agency reported that Kim Jong Un has signed off on orders to train sights on bases in South Korea and the Pacific following a meeting with top generals.

The news comes just hours after U.S. stealth bombers with nuclear-capability took to the skies over South Korea on Thursday.Relations between South Korea and its neighbor to the North have continued to deteriorate in recent days and KCNA reports that Kim Jong Un had 'judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation.' The agency said: 'He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA, ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.

S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea.'  North Korea is said to have put missile units on standby to attack American bases in South Korea and the Pacific Mass anti-American rally: The placard here reads: 'U.

S. forces, get out!' Pyongyang is angry about a hike in sanctions, imposed after it carried out a third nuclear test in February The soldiers and students are shown holding placards that read: 'Reunification of the motherland,' left, and 'Let's rip apart the puppet traitors,' centre Kim Jong-un giving instructions while inspecting the North Korean army's landing exercise on the eastern coast on MondayThe images - which show a pair of U.

S. Air Force B-2 bombers soaring over an American military base south of Seoul - were taken after it emerged North Korea had digitally doctored a state photo of military hovercraft to make the fleet appear bigger than it was.The photo, issued by the Korean Central News Agency and widely carried in the international media on Tuesday, was said to show the hovercraft coming ashore on North Korea’s east coast the previous day.

But on closer examination the photograph seems to have been doctored, with images of two hovercraft each used twice and another pasted in. 'Deterrence': A B-2 stealth bomber (right) soars through the sky over a U.S. air base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, amid rising tension between the country and its neighbour to the North Tensions: The drill involved the bomber striking a mock target, according to South Korean news agency YonhapThe stealth bomber drill was carried out after North Korea declared it was severing its key hotline to Seoul, amid anger over joint U.

S. and South Korean military drills and tough sanctions imposed in the wake of Pyongyang's recent nuclear test.The South Korean news agency Yonhap said the drills were described by the U.S. as 'deterrence missions'.It quoted a military source as saying the drill involved the bomber - capable of deploying both nuclear and conventional weapons - striking a mock target.This week Pyongyang, which is dealing with tightened economic sanctions following its internationally condemned decision to launch a third nuclear test last month, repeated threats to target U.

S. military bases in response. Suspicious: North Korea's state-issued photograph purported to show eight military hovercraft storming a beach, but close inspection suggests some vessels were digitally added Propaganda: This image shows which of the hovercraft were added to the picture The rhetoric from North Korea - which has threatened the United States with nuclear war and rehearsed drone attacks on South Korea - and Washington's hardening reaction, has drawn more concern from China, Pyongyang's only major ally.

China has described the situation as 'sensitive'.Pyongyang says United Nations sanctions, agreed after North Korea carried out a third nuclear test in February, are part of a Washington-led plot to topple its leadership.'From this moment, the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army will be putting into combat duty posture No. 1 all field artillery units, including long-range artillery units and strategic rocket units, that will target all enemy objects in U.

S. invasionary bases on its mainland, Hawaii and Guam, the North's KCNA news agency said on Tuesday. The order was issued in a statement from the North Korea's military 'supreme command'. The Pentagon condemned North Korea's rhetoric, saying it was designed to 'raise tensions and intimidate others'.KIM JONG'S MASTER PLAN:  WHY NORTH KOREA'S AGGRESSIVE POSTURING IS JUST A ROUSE TO BRING WASHINGTON TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE Call my bluff? North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un appears to be trying to force Washington to the negotiating table Across North Korea, soldiers are gearing up for battle and shrouding their jeeps and vans with camouflage netting.

Newly painted signboards and posters call for 'death to the U.S. imperialists' and urge the people to fight with 'arms, not words.' But even as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is issuing midnight battle cries to his generals to ready their rockets, he and his million-man army know full well that a successful missile strike on U.S. targets would be suicide for the outnumbered, out-powered North Korean regime.

Despite the hastening drumbeat of warfare, none of the key players in the region wants or expects another Korean War - not even the North Koreans. But by seemingly bringing the region to the very brink of conflict with threats and provocations, Pyongyang is aiming to draw attention to the tenuousness of the armistice designed to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula, a truce North Korea recently announced it would no longer honor as it warned that war could break out at any time.

It's all part of a grand master plan to force Washington to the negotiating table, pressure the new president in Seoul to change policy on North Korea, and build unity at home - without triggering a full-blown war if all goes well. In July, it will be 60 years since North Korea and China signed an armistice with the U.S. and the United Nations to bring an end to three years of brutal, bloody Cold War fighting that cost millions of lives.

The designated 'Demilitarized Zone' has evolved into the most heavily guarded border in the world. It was never intended to be a permanent border. But six decades later, North and South remain divided, with Pyongyang feeling abandoned by the South Koreans in the quest for reunification and threatened by the Americans. In that time, South Korea has blossomed from a poor, agrarian nation of peasants into the world's 15th largest economy while North Korea is struggling to find a way out of a Cold War chasm that has left it with a per capita income on par with sub-Saharan Africa.

The Chinese troops who fought alongside the North Koreans have long since left. But 28,500 American troops are still stationed in South Korea and 50,000 more are in nearby Japan. For weeks, the U.S. and South Korea have been showing off their military might with a series of joint exercises that Pyongyang sees as a rehearsal for invasion. For weeks, the U.

S. and South Korea have been showing off their military might with a series of joint exercises that Pyongyang sees as a rehearsal for invasion On Thursday, the U.S. military confirmed that those drills included two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers that can unload the U.S. Air Force's largest conventional bomb - a 30,000-pound super bunker buster - powerful enough to destroy North Korea's web of underground military tunnels.

It was a provocative play by Washington, a flexing of military muscle perhaps aimed not only at Pyongyang but at Beijing as well. In Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un reacted swiftly, calling an emergency meeting of army generals and ordering them to be prepared to strike if the U.S. provocations continue. A photo distributed by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency showed Kim in a military operations room with maps detailing a 'strike plan' behind him in a very public show of supposedly sensitive military strategy.

North Korea cites the U.S. military threat as a key reason behind its need to build nuclear weapons, and has poured a huge chunk of its small national budget into defense, science and technology. In December, scientists launched a satellite into space on the back of a long-range rocket using technology that could easily be converted for missiles; in February, they tested an underground nuclear device as part of a mission to build a bomb they can load on a missile capable of reaching the U.

S. North Koreans gather at a rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea on Friday, March 28, 2013 However, what North Korea really wants is legitimacy in the eyes of the U.S. - and a peace treaty. Pyongyang wants U.S. troops off Korean soil, and the bombs and rockets are more of an expensive, dangerous safety blanket than real firepower.

They are the only real playing card North Korea has left, and the bait they hope will bring the Americans to the negotiating table. Narushige Michishita, director of the Security and International Studies Program at Japan's National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, isn't convinced North Korea is capable of attacking Guam, Hawaii or the U.S. mainland. He says Pyongyang hasn't successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.

But its medium-range Rodong missiles, with a range of about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers), are 'operational and credible' and could reach U.S. bases in Japan, he says. More likely than such a strike, however, is a smaller-scale incident, perhaps off the Koreas' western coast, that would not provoke the Americans to unleash their considerable firepower. For years, the waters off the west coast have been a battleground for naval skirmishes between the two Koreas because the North has never recognized the maritime border drawn unilaterally by the U.

N. As threatening as Kim's call to arms may sound, its main target audience may be the masses at home in North Korea. For months, the masterminds of North Korean propaganda have pinpointed this year's milestone Korean War anniversary as a prime time to play up Kim's military credibility as well as to push for a peace treaty. By creating the impression that a U.S. attack is imminent, the regime can foster a sense of national unity and encourage the people to rally around their new leader.

Inside Pyongyang, much of the military rhetoric feels like theatrics. It's not unusual to see people toting rifles in North Korea, where soldiers and checkpoints are a fixture in the heavily militarized society. But more often than not in downtown Pyongyang, the rifle stashed in a rucksack is a prop and the 'soldier' is a dancer, one of the many performers rehearsing for a Korean War-themed extravaganza set to debut later this year.

More than 100,000 soldiers, students and ordinary workers were summoned Friday to Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang to pump their fists in support of North Korea's commander in chief. But elsewhere, it was business as usual at restaurants and shops, and farms and factories, where the workers have heard it all before. 'Tensions rise almost every year around the time the U.S.-South Korean drills take place, but as soon as those drills end, things go back to normal and people put those tensions behind them quite quickly,' said Sung Hyun-sang, the South Korean president of a clothing maker operating in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

'I think and hope that this time won't be different.' And in a telling sign that even the North Koreans don't expect war, the national airline, Air Koryo, is adding flights to its spring lineup and preparing to host the scores of tourists they expect to flock to Pyongyang despite the threats issuing forth from the Supreme Command. War or no war, it seems Pyongyang remains open for business.

Wilma Lawrence

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