By Military1 Staff
This week, tensions between the United States and North Korea escalated to a height not seen since the Korean War. In an exchange of tweets between President Trump and official statements from the North Korean regime, the two world leaders traded warnings and threats, bringing the threat of nuclear war to a new generation.
North Korea ended Wednesday’s exchange of words by declaring they would fire four intermediate-range missiles into the sea around the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, saying of President Trump, “Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him.”
Such a threat seems to be intended to goad President Trump after he threatened North Korean leaders about aggressive tactics. Still, the threat of an attack against a U.S. territory is significant, and leaves many wondering why the regime singled out Guam as opposed to Japan, a close ally of the U.S.
1. It's chock full of U.S military personnel and weaponry
The Joint Region Marianas is a U.S. military command situated on Guam, which combines both Anderson Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam. Between the two military installations are around 7,000 military personnel, the home port of two nuclear-powered fast attack submarines and two submarine tenders, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), a missile defense system. Military personnel often refer to the region as the “permanent aircraft carrier.”
2. It’s in geographically strategic location
Guam is located more than 2,100 miles from Pyongyang in the Pacific Ocean, and is considered to be strategically important for the U.S. military, which is why they have considered expanding their presence on the territory in recent years. It is relatively close in proximity to not only North Korea, but the South China Sea, which the U.S. has been monitoring as China moves toward expansion in what is considered international waters.
3. It’s American
Every person born on the island of Guam is an American citizen, the same as if they had been born in Texas or New York. For Kim Jong-Un, this fact is an important one.
Certainly, an attack on South Korea or Japan would trigger a response from the U.S. under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, it would not be the same as a direct attack on an American-owned territory, and something the North Koreans would see as an incredible victory for their country.