Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo issued a public statement on YouTube late Tuesday night following North Korea's threat to deploy ballistic missiles to strike the island.
In the two-minute video, Calvo affirmed the people of Guam that he is working with Homeland Security, the Rear Admiral and the United States to ensure their safety. Despite North Korea's threat on Tuesday to examine the operational plan to strike Guam, Calvo received confirmation from Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield that there is "no threat to our island or the Marianas."
"My Homeland Security Advisor who is in communications with Homeland Security and Department of Defense notes that there is no change in threat level resulting from North Korea events. HSA George Charfauros reminds us that there are several levels of defense all strategically placed to protect our island and our nation."
Calvo also confirmed that he has spoken to the White House, which reassured the governor that an attack or threat to Guam is one on the United States.
"They have said that America will be defended," he continued.
Guam, a tiny strip of land in the western Pacific Ocean, is roughly the size of Chicago. The country, which houses a U.S. Naval base and Coast Guard station, is far closer to North Korea than it is to any of the United States. Its strategic position to China, Japan, the Philippines and the Korean Peninsula has made the island essential to military operations in the Pacific.
North Korea’s military is “examining the operational plan” to use medium-to-long range ballistic missile strikes against areas near Guam, according to CNN.
CNN reported that North Korea’s state run news agency first mentioned the threat around early Wednesday morning local time there.
A spokesman from the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army reportedly said that recent U.S. military maneuvers “may provoke a dangerous conflict.”
The statement purportedly added that a strike on Andersen Air Force Base in Guam is possible to “to send a serious warning signal to the US.”
Some Twitter users on Tuesday voiced alarm that North Korea could harm Guam, which is a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean.
Am I the only one who is seriously petrified of North Korea bombing Guam...— Brooke Towson (@13rookeT) August 9, 2017
Other people on the social media platform cautioned that North Korea is not as dangerous as the communist nation sounds.
North Korea threats will put people in fear, grab attention and SPEED UP A MILITARY BUILD UP ON GUAM.— Dean Blas (@_MoreThanGold) August 9, 2017
Guam’s location in the Pacific makes it crucial to the U.S. military’s forwarded deployed presence there, and it contains thousands of American service members and their families.
A spokesman with Pacific Air Forces told CNN that the U.S. flew two B1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Monday.
The bombers flew out of Andersen as part of America’s “continuous bomber presence” near Guam, they said, and were joined by Japanese and South Korean aircrafts.
North Korea’s statement about Guam reportedly alludes to the operation, and comes amid rising tensions between its government and President Trump’s administration.
Trump earlier Tuesday vowed that North Korea “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power” should it continue threatening the U.S.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that North Korea has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead that can fit on a ballistic missile.
The Post cited an assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which suggested North Korea is making longer strides towards becoming a fully-fledged nuclear power.
Trump has vowed he will not allow North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons capable of hitting the U.S., technology which the reclusive Asian country has long sought.