On Guam, the mood is calm despite being in North Korea's crosshairs

Postado Agosto 13, 2017

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.

North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.

"An attack or threat to Guam is a threat or attack on the United States", said Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo, who said he spoke with White House officials Monday morning.

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.

He added, "Now is the time to rally behind our commander-in-chief...in order to protect our nation and the proud citizens of our country living in the USA territories".

The Department of Defense on August 11 published video showing the take-off on a training mission of a B-1 bomber from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

Guam was claimed by Spain in 1565 and became a US territory in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. A THAAD battery includes a truck-mounted launcher, tracking radar, interceptor missiles and an integrated fire control system. The air base was built in 1944, when the US was preparing to send bombers to Japan during World War II.

Here's a closer look at Guam and its role in the USA and North Korea's ongoing war of words.

Air Force B-1B Lancer Bombers arrived on the island of Guam Friday morning.

Naval Base Guam is an important outpost for USA fast-attack nuclear powered submarines that are a key means for gathering intelligence in the region, including off the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea where China has been building military bases on man-made islands that have stirred tension across Asia. Residents do not pay USA income taxes or vote in the general election for US president. Guam was also a refueling and transfer spot for military personnel heading to Southeast Asia. For years, North Korea has claimed Guam is within its missiles' striking distance, making furious statements each time when the US flew powerful bombers from the island's air base to the Korean Peninsula.

Because Guam is a US territory, the USA military may launch forces from there without worrying about upsetting a host nation that may object to USA actions.

Guam is armed with the U.S. Army's defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which can intercept missiles. Many refugees fleeing Vietnam were evacuated through Guam.