World News

Guam's residents concerned but have faith in USA military

Guam's residents concerned but have faith in USA military

The governor of the Northern Marianas Ralph Torres says he has "full faith and trust" in US President Donald Trump to protect America's Pacific territories from North Korean attack.

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.

Similar threats in 2013 led Guam's U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo to advocate for the THAAD system, she said in a statement Wednesday.

Also in this video, US Air Force Lt Col Christopher Occhiuzzo from the 36th Operations Group discusses the aircraft used at the base and their capabilities. While already taking up 30 per cent of the island, the American military has been seeking to increase its presence by relocating to Guam thousands of Marines who are now based in Okinawa, Japan.

A travel agent on Guam said they haven't had a surge of customers seeking to book flights off the island.

The U.S. military has said it plans to increase its presence on Guam and will move thousands of U.S. Marines now stationed in Japan to the island between 2024 and 2028.

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The island was first populated about 4,000 years ago by the ancestors of the Chamorros, still the island's largest ethnic group.

Guam's total population is 160,000. Its capital city is Hagatna and its largest city is Dededo. That base and a USA naval base are home to about 13,000 American military personnel. It has seen various popular movements pushing for greater self-government or even US statehood, most notably a significant but failed effort in the 1980s to make it a commonwealth on par with Puerto Rico. The tourist district of Tumon, home to many of Guam's hotels and resorts, is in between.

Guamanians have served in all major USA wars since World War II and see military service as a source of pride.

North Korean state media has reported that the country is considering plans to strike Guam this month. For years, North Korea has claimed Guam is within its missiles' striking distance, making furious statements each time when the US flew powerful bombers from the island's air base to the Korean Peninsula. It has two 2-mile (3-kilometer) long runways and large fuel and munitions storage facilities.

It's not the first time North Korea has threatened Guam, which is a crucial, strategic hub for USA forces in the Pacific.

Guam is armed with the U.S. Army's defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which can intercept missiles. The rotations also came as North Korea increasingly upped the ante in the standoff over its development of nuclear weapons.


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