Guam - Governor Eddie Calvo is thankful a ballistic missile defense system is being deployed to the territory but continues to assure island resident that Guam is already under the blanket of protection of the U.S. military. Calvo says he's been in constant contact with the defense department and Homeland Security about the safety of island residents.
With news from the pentagon that a ballistic missile defense system will be deployed to the territory. Calvo says it is in addition to the arsenal of protection already in place. "These are systems that are land based in the Korean peninsula, in Japan, in Okinawa and those systems that are in the water as well, so there has been a blanket over Guam this is one more system," he said.
Most island residents we spoke with say they feel safe despite the ongoing barrage of threats from North Korea. Myong Hong, 35, from Maite, said, "I'm not really that intimidated to be honest with you because the North Koreans were always hostile ever since long time and they're always just doing crazy things in my opinion. I've got nothing to worry."
Anthony Aguon, 33, from Barrigada said, "I go on about my day like every day it doesn't matter to me. And Reta Taijeron, 70, from Talofofo said, "Yes, I do feel safe because I know the military has it covered here. I'm not a bit afraid. Actually I don't even really think about it. Jonas Babauta, 24, from Agat said, "Honestly they've made threats before according to their timeline and their history so I don't think it's going to be a big deal."
75-year-old Dwight Agaran from Dededo believes the U.S. military will protect Guam but adds the threats should be taken seriously and is taking necessary precautions. "Stocking some canned goods because I read in the newspaper and on the television to get prepared to get inside the home and no windows open with canned foods stocked."
As for the island's chief executive he too is concerned but remains steadfast to his position that Guam is safe. He does however believe the decision to deploy a missile defense system in Guam should send a clear message to Senator John McCain, who has been leading the charge to freeze funding for the Guam buildup. "If you'll recall this system this land based system was incorporated in the original plan for the realignment of military forces in Guam but unfortunately because of obstacles such as Senator Mccain there has been this delay. Now it has been put in an emergency situation as a result of these threats made out of north Korea. This wasn't budgeted this is something now is being done as a result of a situation that is occurring on the north Korean peninsula. 1919 this shows the importance and significance of Guam in the Marianas in terms of America's strategic interest but also there's about 200,000 Americans living in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands getting just as much protection as any other American," he said.
In the original plan for the military buildup there were plans for a U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Defense Task Force to be based on Guam. Governor Calvo says he will be sending a letter to Senator McCain as well as other members in the U.S. Senate that have been obstacles towards the realignment of forces in the region and military spending in Guam.
Guam delegate Madeleine Bordallo says she is encouraged by the Pentagon's announcement today that a ballistic missile defense system will be deployed to Guam in the coming weeks in response to threat from North Korea. Bordallo who was briefed by a pentagon official today says she has been assured that the military is ready to respond to any threat to our country and our allies. She added this announcement is further proof that our military has taken the necessary and precautionary steps to ensure the safety of our island.