U.S. missile shield not certain to protect Guam from North Korea

Paterniano Del Favero
Agosto 12, 2017

"It was no accident that North Korea threatened to launch four missiles, it deliberately complicates the decisions of United States policy makers", he said. They called on all parties to de-escalate.

North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.

Trump said earlier this week that North Korea faces "retaliation with fire and fury unlike any the world has seen before".

The real danger of any preemptive US strikes against North Korea's weapons sites would be that Pyongyang, whose conventional forces are considered no match for those of the United States and its allies, might resort to using its chemical and biological weapons and ultimately its nuclear arsenal.

"In nuclear deterrence, credibility is everything and there's a situation that if no-one takes you seriously, you have to do something to make sure you are taken seriously, and that's where the miscalculation can happen", Yun said.

American and South Korean officials said they would move forward with large-scale military exercises later this month that North Korea claims are a rehearsal for war.

Should US allies refuse to let the military to launch strikes from their territory, Guam would be the most likely place from which to launch airstrikes on North Korea, Schuster says, adding that this is how Kim will regard it.

Chinese government-backed scholars said Beijing is deeply concerned about the latest statements from Trump and North Korea.

But this week, as Pyongyang exchanged increasingly angry words with the U.S., there are worries of a clash erupting along the heavily militarised frontier which divides the two Koreas. She says she would like see the president's tough talk dial down.

There are, however, political complications in launching attacks from United States bases hosted by allies closer to Pyongyang, should the U.S. retaliate to Kim's latest threats.

USA allies Japan and South Korea quickly vowed a strong reaction if the North were to follow through.

Guam is the closest US territory to North Korea at a distance of approximately 2,130 miles.

The U.S., China and Russian Federation need to come together to force the North to de-escalate, he said.

"Guam is the largest island between Hawaii and the Philippines, and it has a natural deep seawater port", says Robert Underwood, former Guam delegate to the U.S. Congress and current president at the University of Guam.

"I don't believe they have the capability to do so yet, and besides, why would they want to commit suicide by attacking a remote target like Guam?" he said.

"In many ways the pattern of belligerent rhetoric and weapons demonstrations is similar to previous years, and - importantly - conflict is still unlikely. It's time to tone down the rhetoric".

It is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) southeast of North Korea, much closer than it is to any of the United States.

In that case, Onedera said that Japan could exercise the right to collective self-defense and intercept the missiles. "Making the warhead sufficiently small, light and robust to survive an ICBM delivery is extremely challenging and still beyond North Korea's reach". But residents are increasingly anxious over Washington's escalating war of words with North Korea.

"Unfortunately, there seems to be no serious dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, only threats", he said.

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