In response to U.S. President Donald Trump's tough rhetoric, North Korea said on Thursday it was finalising plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles that would land 30-40 km (18-25 miles) from Guam.
The North then came out with a threat to lob four intermediate-range "Hwasong-12" missiles near Guam, a tiny USA territory some 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) from Pyongyang.
Residents of the tiny territory - just 12 miles at its widest point and circled with lovely beaches - find themselves again caught in the middle of a war of words as a volley of hostile rhetoric was launched between North Korea and the United States, including pointed threats of nuclear action.
"We are prepared for any eventuality, more so than any other American community", he said.
While immediate confirmation of the reports was not available, Japan has in the past vowed to shoot down North Korean missiles or rockets that threaten to hit its territory. The annual joint US-South Korean military exercise, called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, is expected to proceed as scheduled starting on August 21, said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesperson. -South Korea drills begin.
While experts estimate the consequences and economic impact of an imminent us vs North Korea war, some Guamanians are stockpiling essentials to survive while taking shelter if Pyongyang makes good on its promise to strike the island. North Korea has previously mobilized large crowds to show its resolve when tensions escalate.
Clarissa Baumgartner, a 25-year old Guam resident, said Pyongyang's second threat in as many days to train its ballistic missiles on Guam wasn't something she was taking too seriously.
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"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.
The possibility of escalation is made even more acute by the lack of any means of official communication across the Demilitarized Zone, though there has been no easing of the barrage of inflammatory comments in the US and the North since new sanctions against North Korea were announced last week. The exclamation came after President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang of "fire and fury like the world has never seen". USA bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula several times to show American strength after Pyongyang's missile tests.
Guam has been a US territory since 1898, when Spain ceded it in the wake of the Spanish-American War.
If North Korea launches missiles on Guam, it would take only about 14 minutes for the rockets to reach the United States territory, the island's Homeland Security spokeswoman announced.
"I'm glad you're holding the helm, Sir", he said. "So I think it's important to be very strong".
Trump said hours later, "Let her speak for Germany".
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