GUAM (Reuters) - The governor of Guam on Thursday dismissed North Korea’s statement that it will develop a plan by mid-August to launch missiles at the U.S. Pacific territory as coming from “a position of fear”, and said there was no heightened threat.
North Korea’s state media said earlier that, under the plan to be presented to leader Kim Jong Un, four intermediate-range missiles would be fired into waters 30-40 km (18-25 miles) from Guam “to signal a crucial warning to the United States”.
Guam is home to about 163,000 people and a U.S. military base that includes a submarine squadron, an air base and a Coast Guard group.(For a graphic on North Korean missile trajectories, ranges click tmsnrt.rs/2hIzZHG)
“They like to be unpredictable. They’ll pop a missile off when no one is ready and they’ve done it quite a few times. Now they’ve telegraphed it,” Guam Governor Eddie Calvo told Reuters in an interview on the island.
“They’re now telegraphing their punch, which means they don’t want to have any misunderstandings. I think that’s a position of fear.”
He said there was some concern among the public on Guam but no panic, and the authorities were “very confident” that there was no heightened threat despite the warnings from North Korea, which were first made on Wednesday.
“There is a defence umbrella contained within South Korea, there is a defence umbrella for Japan, there are naval assets between Korea, Japan and Guam, and there is a missile defence system of Guam that make up a multi-level defensive umbrella,” Calvo said.
“At this point, based on what facts are known, there is no need to have any concern regards heightening the threat level.”
Reporting by Martin Petty; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Lincoln Feast