North Korean threats single-out US bases in Pacific
Guam - Earlier this week island leaders raised concern over Guam's security relative to recent threats from North Korea to the United States. And just today those threats continued as the threats singled out U.S. military bases in the Pacific, including Guam.
Despite the latest round of rhetoric out of North Korea, island leaders remain confident the island of Guam is shielded from their threats.
Buildup director Mark Calvo explained, telling KUAM News, "Obviously, the Guam community is not the motor role of defending ourselves, but fortunately we have significant Department of Defense assets not just here on Guam in bases, but deployed in and around the Pacific Ocean. And there's some indication that a threat to that or an execution of a threat would be met with defensive action and if needed offensive action to stop the threat."
His statements follows news out of KCNA News, Pyongyang argues, "The U.S.is still making a foolish attempt to test the Democrat's People of Republic of Korea's will and dampen its resolute decision through high-handed hostile acts including nuclear blackmail, failing to properly understand about its rival."
The statement appears to be in response to deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter's recent visit to Seoul during which he announced that B-52 bombers were participating in military exercises with their allies. As we reported, Carter is traveling through the region where we he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to its allies.
And after hearing Pyongyang media report that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said they would attack U.S. military bases in the Pacific in addition to South Korea if "its enemies...make even the slightest movement." He added, "The U.S. should not forget that the Anderson Air Force Base on Guam where B-52 takes off and naval bases in Japan proper and Okinawa where nuclear-powered submarines are launched are within the striking range of the DPRK's precision strike means."
Calvo says it's something he along with officials take seriously, adding, "The leadership there in North Korea obviously is unpredictable and we can't say here nor there whether the threats would be carried out, but we're pretty sure that from this great nation that is the U.S., in the peace-keeping and deterring war role that response to threats like that won't be taken lightly."
Meanwhile, earlier this week both Governor Eddie Calvo and military oversight chair Senator Frank Aguon, Jr. fired off letters to federal officials calling for reassurance that Guam is safe in spite of threats from North Korea. And while they have yet to hear back from defense secretary Chuck Hagel, Mark Calvo says others have offered reassurance. "But we've also been provided information through [Congresswoman] Madeleine [Bordallo]'s office and Joint Region that the Department of Defense has taken prudent steps to protect our homeland," he said.
Joint Region Marianas deputy public affairs officer Coleen San Nicolas-Perez meanwhile tells KUAM News, "The Department of Defense fully intends to defend the United States and its territories from any ballistic missile attack. The United States maintains a range of ballistic missile defense capabilities that could be deployed in Guam's defense in times of crisis."