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Trump warns U.S. 'locked and loaded' as North Korea readies missiles
12 August 2017, 10:29 | Darnell Patrick
Guam: A tiny territory caught in a global war of words
The military drills are held annually but they have will take place now, as Pyongyang has prepared a plan to strike four Hwasong-12 ballistic missiles towards the US territory of Guam.
The KCNA report said of Trump, "Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him". Guam is also home to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, which can knock out intermediate-range missiles as their approach the island.
A USA strike against North Korea would need the support of South Korea, he said, because the North would likely retaliate against the South and its 600,000 troops.
While tensions typically spike around the dates of the exercises - North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test just days after last year's manoeuvrs - the situation generally calms afterward as the North needs to focus on its farms and the approach of the fall harvest. US allies Japan and South Korea quickly vowed a strong reaction if the North were to follow through.
The escalated military activity on the #korean peninsula this time around is worrisome because it has the potential to create a mishap or an overheating by either side that could lead to a more heightened tension.
North Korea has been increasingly sensitive to the exercises lately because they reportedly include training for "decapitation strikes" to kill Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants. The U.S. Defense Department said more than 40,000 troops will participate in Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, along with non-military personnel from South Korea who will train civil defense officers.
The small Pacific island that belongs to the US has been sent back to the terrifying World War II days, when Guamanians (citizens of Guam) used to receive eerily similar fact sheets from authorities on how to stay safe during warfare. Any order by the president could be executed quickly.
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"Obviously the South Korean government does not support (a US pre-emptive strike)".
Key threats would be North Korea's small but capable navy, including its submarines that can move quietly and attack. The North has also been preparing for ground war for decades, and would be a formidable force on the border.
The Moon administration has moved to embrace the US emphasis on increased sanctions and military deterrence.
According to North Korean state media, the alleged strike will happen in mid-August.
"North Korea better get their act together, or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble", Trump said, flanked by Vice-President Mike Pence. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Asia this week, said North Korea could signal it was ready for such talks by halting any missile tests for an extended period. But if the missiles aren't expected to hit the island - the stated goal is to have them hit waters well offshore - should it?
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.
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