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Guam keeps its cool after North Korea strike threat

13 August 2017

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that the USA military is "locked and loaded" as he warned North Korea against threatening the us, escalating an exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations.

Earlier in the week, Mr Trump said North Korea would face "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if Pyongyang continues to provoke, then boasted on Twitter that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is "far stronger and more powerful than ever before".

Guam is a launching point for USA strategic bombers that the North, virtually flattened by US bombs during the 1950-53 Korean War, sees as particularly threatening.

Four B-1B Lancers assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, arrive February 6, 2017, at Andersen AFB, Guam. They are both managed under Joint Base Marianas. He noted that Guam has many buildings made to withstand powerful typhoons, yet he acknowledged that nothing can protect against a thermonuclear attack. File photo by U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Photo by Robert Hicks/Handout via REUTERS. The air base was built in 1944, when the US was preparing to send bombers to Japan during World War II. At the northern end of the island, Andersen Air Force Base houses B-1 bombers as well as the Navy's Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Twenty-five.

Trump echoed that threat Thursday, insisting if North Korea took any steps to attack Guam, its leaders would have reason to be nervous. Most are sailors and airmen.

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"We always maintain a high state of readiness and have the capabilities to counter any threat, to include those from North Korea", Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, told Business Insider.

Guam, with a 2016 population of nearly 163,000, has been fought over for centuries.

Guam is strategically located a short flight from the Korean peninsula and other potential flashpoints in East Asia.

Guam is about 2,100 miles (3,380 kilometers) southeast of Pyongyang and 3,800 miles (6,115 kilometers) west of Honolulu in the Pacific Ocean. Guam stayed under naval rule until 1950, when the Organic Act made Guam a self-governing territory of the USA and its residents became US citizens. Since the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago has been an essential part of USA power projection.

The U.S. set up the Naval Station in Guam in 1899, designating the whole island as a base. It did so to compensate for USA forces diverted from other bases in the Asia-Pacific region to fight in the Middle East.

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Srinivasan Sitaraman, political scientist at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts said: "It seems that Mr. Trump either deliberately or inadvertently threatened nuclear annihilation of North Korea".

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. The THAAD system is specifically created to shoot down ballistic missiles.

Aegis is able to track 100 missiles simultaneously and fire interceptors to take out an enemy's ballistic projectiles. Spain's colonial rule continued until the USA took control in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Guam officially became a US territory in 1950 and was put under the administration of the Department of the Navy. The Navy used the island as a coaling base and communications station until Japan seized the island on December 10, 1941. As a result, Guam's economy relies heavily on the U.S. Armed Forces, which owns a third of the island.

GARY HARTZ: There are many moods on Guam right now.

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Guam keeps its cool after North Korea strike threat