Trump ramps up Guam assurances over N Korea threat

Catholic worshippers attend a

North Korean state-media on Wednesday showed images of a mobilisation of tens of thousands of citizens parading through Kim Il-sung square in Pyongyang carrying banners in defence of leader Kim Jong-un and denouncing the latest United Nations sanctions to punish the regime for its missile launches.

North Korea said it would fire ballistic missiles towards Guam, home to some 7,000 American military personnel.

A view shows a Pyongyang city mass rally held at Kim Il Sung Square on August 9, 2017, to fully support the statement of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) government in this photo released on August 10, 2017 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang. It did not identify which media.

Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis also warned North Korea against pursuing a policy which led to "the end of its regime and the destruction of its people". "We've been talking about this for more than two years".

Japan and South Korea vowed a strong reaction if the North were to go through with the plan.

Guam is home to a United States air base, a Navy installation, a Coast Guard group and roughly 6,000 United States military personnel. It quoted Kim as saying he would watch what he called the "foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees" a little more before deciding whether to order a test. "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".

Guam's security and defence officials say there is no imminent threat to its 160,000 population or in the neighbouring Northern Mariana Islands. But because of its key strategic role in the Pacific, Guam is also a target for North Korea.

Abe spoke to reporters Tuesday after a phone conversation with the American president.

Guam has been a US territory since 1898, except when it was held by Japan for about two years during World War II.

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It's an existential question for this tiny territory now caught between President Trump and North Korea. "No missile is going to land on Guam", said Carl Peterson, who serves on the Guam Chamber of Commerce's armed forces committee.

In televised comments, Moon said that "military action on the Korean Peninsula can only be decided by South Korea and no one else can decide to take military action without the consent of South Korea".

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

"The greatest threat to both states remains shorter range artillery, artillery rockets and stockpiles of short-to-medium range missiles". That appeared to signal a path to defuse the crisis.

USA officials have said new United States steps that would target Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang are in the works, but these have appeared to be put on hold to give Beijing time to show it is serious about enforcing new UN sanctions. There is a way forward out of this dilemma, somewhere between Barack Obama's "strategic patience" and Donald Trump's threat to bring "fire and fury" into an already volatile situation.

August 15 is the anniversary of the end of World War II in 1945 and the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule. But its comments appeared to signal a path to defuse the crisis by saying Kim would watch US conduct before giving his orders. "While the US president insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution".

The real threat is "stumbling into an inadvertent nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula by misunderstanding or miscalculation", he said, adding: "Inflammatory rhetoric on both sides will make that more likely". He said the USA military would defend the country "from any attack, at any time and from any quarter".

Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the "seeking a peaceful resolution to the crisis".

Senior Trump administration officials have said that the United States is not interested in regime change, and has no desire to "inflict harm on the long-suffering North Korean people".


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