Guam, Japan prepare for possible missile launch from North Korea

Scott Sherman

Scott Sherman

Washington has previously said it will consider talks with Pyongyang if it agrees to give up its nuclear weapons program, a pre-condition North Korean officials have described as a non-starter.

The paper said, "The powerful revolutionary Paektusan army of the DPRK, capable of fighting any war the USA wants, is now on the standby to launch fire into its mainland, waiting for an order of final attack".

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is seeking continued help from China's president in addressing the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear developments.

With North Korea threatening to send a salvo of ballistic missiles close to Guam, a US military hub in the Pacific, pressure could grow for Washington to put its multibillion-dollar missile defense system into use and shoot them out of the air.

The isolated nation, earlier this week, laid out a detailed plan to launch ballistic missiles into waters near Guam, a US territory.

The White House says that Trump - in a phone call Friday to President Xi Jinping - saluted Xi for China's United Nations vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea.

A member of Trump's Republican Party, Calvo insisted during the two men's call that "I have never felt more safe or so confident with you at the helm", according to his office.

North Korea said Tuesday that its military presented leader Kim Jong Un with plans to launch intermediate-range missiles into waters near Guam and "wring the windpipes of the Yankees" by creating "enveloping fire" near the key US military hub in the Pacific.

With North Korea threatening to send a salvo of ballistic missiles close to a USA military hub in the Pacific, pressure could grow for Washington to put its multibillion-dollar missile defense system into use and shoot them out of the air before they can pose a real threat. Trump's comments, however, do not appear to be backed by significant military mobilization on either side of the Pacific, and an important, quiet diplomatic channel remains open.

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"Sim Tack, a senior analyst for private intelligence firm Stratfor, said the Japanese batteries are designed for protecting the area where they are deployed, "(they are) not meant to shoot missiles out of the sky as they pass over Japan at high altitude".

Even though missiles from the North would nearly certainly carry dummy warheads, analysts said, a failure to intercept them would deal Mr. Trump a mortifying setback and could even weaken the rationale for installing an American missile defense system in South Korea. Pyongyang says it will be ready to send its missile launch plan to Kim for approval just before or as the drills begin.

He later retweeted a posting from U.S. Pacific Command that showed B-1B Lancer bomber planes on Guam that "stand ready to fulfill USFK's #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so".

"Let her speak for Germany", Trump said, when asked about the comment.

"I don't see a military solution and I don't think it's called for", Merkel said Friday, declining to say whether Germany would stand with the U.S.in a military conflict with North Korea. "She's certainly not referring to the United States, that I can tell you".

"Hopefully it'll all work out", Trump said.

The governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo, posted a video on Facebook of himself speaking with Trump. "North Korea raising tension (on the Peninsula) is a serious challenge against the South Korean-US alliance and the worldwide community".

Called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the exercises are expected to run August 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air. "In the President's words they are behind us '1,000 percent.' As the head of the Government of Guam, I appreciate their reassurances that my family, my friends, everyone on this island, are all safe".

Behind the threats, US officials insist there has been no new significant movement of troops, ships, aircraft or other assets to the region other than for long scheduled military exercises with South Korea.

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