The Governor of Guam, the US territory threatened with attack by North Korea, has backed Donald Trump’s fiery rhetoric toward the nuclear-armed nation, saying that a President who whole-heartedly embraces forceful retaliation over attacks on US territory is “what I want”.
Days of escalating rhetoric between the Trump administration and the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have alarmed Asian allies – and placed the Pacific island in the middle of a global political crisis – after Mr Trump made clear that any further action from Pyongyang over its banned missile and nuclear programmes will be “met with fire and fury”.
That statement, with its undertones of renewed conflict on the Korean peninsula, prompted a matching show of belligerence from North Korea. The country’s state-run media claimed it was formulating plans to strike the US territory of Guam with “historic enveloping fire” and taunted Mr Trump as “bereft of reason” and someone for whom “only absolute force can work.”
It is not the first time North Korea has threatened Guam, a small United States territory that hosts a US military outpost. But the North Korean military’s claims via state media that it would have plans to strike Guam with four missiles completed by “mid-August” reverberated around the world.
In an interview with Fox News, Guam Governor Eddie Calvo struck a defiant note and backed Mr Trump’s sabre-rattling.
“I want a president that says that if any nation such as North Korea attacks Guam, attacks Honolulu, attacks the west coast, that they will be met with hell and fury,” Mr Calvo said during an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
North Korea’s state run KCNA news agency said that the country’s army will complete the plans in mid-August for the firing of four missiles, citing General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army. The plans called for the missiles to land in the sea only 18 to 25 miles from Guam.
In remarks to reporters in Guam, Mr Calvo struck a reassuring tone, saying “this is not the time to panic,” according to the Pacific Daily News.
The war of words between the two nations was sparked by reports that North Korea had successfully miniaturised a nuclear weapon to place atop a ballistic missile. Tensions had already been raised by two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests by Pyongyang in July and NBC News reported on Thursday that multiple US intelligence agencies – including the…