Economy

Officials in Guam say it's safe from North Korea

Officials in Guam say it's safe from North Korea”

"While it is extremely unlikely that Pyongyang would risk the assured annihilation of its revered leadership with a pre-emptive attack on US citizens, some residents of Guam are concerned".

But others believe North Korea has no intention of backing down.

But the Guam Daily Post said in an editorial that although the island's residents were used to North Korea's threats, the situation was more precarious today because "a feisty, not-so-cool-headed commander-in-chief lives in the White House now".

Pyongyang raised the stakes hours after Mr Trump's threats, saying it was considering missile strikes near United States strategic military installations on Guam.

The spokesman cited two US actions - the test-firing last week of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and the appearance of B1-B Lancer bombers - or what the spokesman called "the air pirates of Guam" - in the skies over South Korea. While already taking up 30 percent 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. "They are here to protect the islands, just in case something happens".

The possibility of a nuclear confrontation is considered remote.

Trump's remarks on Tuesday afternoon that North Korea would face "fire and fury like the world has never seen" weighed on Wall Street and drove up the VIX "fear gauge", or the cost of protection against a drop in the S&P 500. He said the North would finalize a plan by mid-August to fire four mid-range missiles hitting waters 30 to 40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles) away from the island.

US stocks closed lower on Tuesday after Trump's vow to respond aggressively to any North Korean threats triggered a late afternoon selling spree. Their location in a USA territory means its military is just hours from potential flashpoints in the western Pacific.

The falls followed USA and Asian market declines after North Korea said it was considering plans to attack Guam, which has a large US military base.

His comments came as the speaker of the Guam legislature said he hoped the island could defend itself.

"Both countries know that there is no turning back once they push the button", Fujii said.

A pair of B-1B Lancer bombers arrived in Guam from South Dakota recently to fly with South Korean and Japanese counterparts.

"Heightened geopolitical risks overnight have seen the markets flip from risk-on to risk-off and we have to wait and see how long this move runs before adding some positions", said Viraj Patel, an FX strategist at ING in London. "I feel safe with our military presence here - Andersen and the Navy". President William McKinley ordered Guam to be ruled by the U.S. Navy.

The U.S. took control of Guam in 1898, when Spanish authorities surrendered to the U.S. Navy.

Guam's total population is 160,000.

It was captured and held for two and a half years by Japan during World War II before being retaken by United States forces in 1944.



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