Donald Trump is using Guam as a pawn in his stand-off with North Korea without even knowing where the US territory is, terrified locals say.
After the United States president threatened “fire and fury” against the reclusive State, Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom revealed it is considering detailed plans to aim a missile at the Western Pacific island.
Residents of the 550 square kilometre territory, home to several US military bases, turned on Trump as they contemplated the dire warning from North Korea.
“We’ll be blown to smithereens!” wrote former teacher Eileen Benavente-Blas on a community Facebook page. “Trump hasn’t a clue where Guam is as he tweets our island into the nuclear hands of N Korea.”
In response to a query, Guamanian Milan Salas added: “Tell the world Guam (we) are a p awn of war. Collateral damage and victims every day from two spoiled rotten man child leaders Trump and Kim . . . Kim Jung (sic) wants to kill us with his ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) because of our ties as a territory to the USA . . . USA wants to drown our livelihood with despair from over-militarisation that will hurt our ecosystem … we are a cheese bait for NK.
“The Chamorro (indigenous) people have no true voice from everyday tyrants. Is there really true freedom, that I cannot vote for the POTUS who imposes his constitutional rights on me and strategically uses my home for military purposes as a target for the Asia-Pacific region?
“Where is our voice in all this?”
International experts have joined in the criticism of the president’s “unhinged” verbal assault, which goes well beyond repeated warnings from the US military this year that action against North Korea is an option.
“Trying to out-threaten North Korea is like trying to out-pray the Pope,” tweeted John Delury from Seoul’s Yonsei University.
Security commentator Ankit Panda called Trump’s comments “dangerous and unusual”, while Congressman Eliot Engel, Democratic senior member of the house committee on foreign affairs, chastised the president for drawing an “absurd” red line that Kim would inevitably cross.
“North Korea is a real threat, but the president’s unhinged reaction suggests he might consider using American nuclear weapons in response to a nasty comment from a North Korean despot,” Engel said in a statement.
Trump’s apocalyptic warning to the reclusive State followed a Washington Post report the Pyongyang regime had successfully produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead that can fit inside its intercontinental ballistic missiles. This would mean North Korea has crossed a key threshold on the path to becoming a fully-fledged nuclear power, believed to have as many as 60 nuclear weapons.
With a population of 160,000 people, Guam is home to 6000 US troops at the Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base. Its tropical climate has also made it popular with tourists, although a direct twice-weekly flight from Cairns that carried mainly tourists was discontinued in 2015.The Micronesian island, situated less than 3000km north of Australia and about 3400km south-east of Pyongyang, is the westernmost US territory, captured from Spain in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.
The hermit kingdom’s threat to Guam came two days after the UN Security Council approved new sanctions to punish the state, which North Korea attacked as part of a “heinous US plot”. US B1-B bombers then flew over the Korean peninsula, a move the State-run media said “proves that the US imperialists are nuclear war maniacs”.
Kim Jong-un is now reportedly weighing up aiming intermediate range ballistic missiles at the US military outpost, which would create an “enveloping fire” around Guam. The plan could be put into action at “any moment” once the North Korean leader gives the word, its military said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. News.com.au