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Jakarta Post

Guam 'well-equipped' to handle North Korean threat: governor


    Agence France-Presse

Hagatna, United States   /   Thu, August 10, 2017   /   03:40 pm
Guam 'well-equipped' to handle North Korean threat: governor Keep calm: Maps for driving around Guam are displayed outside the Seoul office of the Guam Visitors Bureau in Seoul on August 10, 2017. Nuclear-armed North Korea mocked President Donald Trump as (Agence France -Presse/Jung Yeon-Je)

Guam's governor on Thursday said the US territory was "well-equipped" to handle any North Korean strike thanks to robust infrastructure that had survived earthquakes and typhoons, after Pyongyang released a detailed plan to launch missiles towards the island. 

A drumbeat of threats by North Korea over the years has fostered a sense of resilience among the island's 162,000 inhabitants, whose lives are deeply intertwined with the US military, which has 6,000 troops based there. 

Guam Governor Eddie Calvo said the remote Pacific island was accustomed to being a target ever since Washington placed military installations there. 

"We have to understand that even in a million-to-one scenario we have to be prepared with Guam being what it has been for decades, an American territory with strategic military assets in place in a very dynamic region.

"We are prepared for any eventuality, more so than any other American community," he said.

He did not elaborate on Guam's defences but the island houses two US military installations, and is also armed with a sophisticated weapons system known as THAAD, which can destroy short, medium and intermediate-range missiles in their final phase of flight.

"The way our infrastructure is built -- an 8.3 earthquake a decade ago, powerful typhoons -- they are well-equipped to coordinate both pre-event and also post-event," he said.

Hours earlier, as North Korea's war of words with US President Donald Trump intensified, Pyongyang said it was developing a plan to launch four intermediate-range missiles towards the Pacific island.

In Guam's capital Hagatna, residents were unruffled by Pyongyang's rhetoric.

"If it's going to happen it's going to happen," Loiue Joyce, a woman in her mid-20s, said of the North Korean threat, as she enjoyed a day of shopping. 

"Scary? Yes, but what can we do? We live on a small island. There's really nowhere to hide if the attack were to happen."