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Many Guam Residents Aren't Worried About North Korea

Many Guam Residents Aren't Worried About North Korea

Officials haven't raised the USA territory's threat level even after Pyongyang laid out plans to strike near the island in the coming weeks, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said.

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Officials haven't raised the US territory's threat level even after Pyongyang laid out plans to strike near the island in the coming weeks, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said.

The U.S. set up the Naval Station in Guam in 1899, designating the whole island as a base. The tourist district of Tumon, home to many of Guam's hotels and resorts, is in between.

Spain ceded Guam to the U.S.in 1898, but the Japanese seized the island in 1941. US officials said there was no major movement of USA military assets to the region, nor were there signs Pyongyang was actively preparing for war.

Today, Naval Base Guam is the home port for four nuclear-powered fast attack submarines and two submarine tenders.

Guam is home to about 163,000 people and a United States military base. It has two 2-mile (3-kilometer) long runways and large fuel and munitions storage facilities.

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The Asian country warned that it is preparing to fire four missiles over Japan and into the waters around Guam - where some 7,000 USA military personnel reside among the island's population of 160,000 American citizens. Most are sailors and airmen. Guam stayed under naval rule until 1950, when the Organic Act made Guam a self-governing territory of the US and its residents became USA citizens.

North Korea said under the plan, four Hwasong-12 rockets would fly over Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures in Japan, hitting waters 19 to 25 miles from the island, the Associated Press reported. But US officials say they may be misreading US capabilities - the US has other assets in the region, mainly Navy ships that could shoot down the missiles as well as THAAD.

The naval base is an important outpost for US fast-attack submarines that are a key means for gathering intelligence in the region, including the Korean peninsula and the South China Sea where China has been building military bases on man-made islands.

South Korea is less focused on increasing the flight range, as that could face opposition from neighbors including China, Russia and Japan, and the 800-km range limit covers all of North Korea in any case, senior government officials said.

USA satellites are constantly surveying North Korea looking at known missile launch sites and watching for any signs of launches from areas they may not know about.

If any of these commands detect a threat, it then moves to a quick decision about shooting down the missile with any number of missile defense systems that may be in the target area.

It's created to destroy ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.