Officials Downplay North Korean Threats To Guam

Governor Calvo says there is not change in threat level; Public should remain calm

By Shawn Raymundo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 9, 2017) – Amid new threats of a ballistic missile strike on Guam from North Korea, Guam’s Homeland Security office Wednesday said there is no imminent threat to the island and the Marianas region.

Based on communications with military and federal officials, Gov. Eddie Calvo said there's no change in the threat level to Guam, and he encouraged the public to remain calm.

“This is not the time to panic,” Calvo told reporters during a press conference at Adelup on Wednesday afternoon. “There have been many statements out there that have been made by a very bellicose leader, but at this point there’s been no change in the security situation here on Guam. I’ve gotten assurances from all levels, both local command and Washington, D.C., that this island will be defended.”

Calvo also noted that officials are confident in the layers of defense over Guam and the U.S. 

Guam Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros said the island is protected by the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile system permanently stationed at Andersen Air Force Base as well as other missile defense systems in the region.

"All of those put together, there’s .00001 percent chance of that missile getting through that layer," Charfauros said during the conference. 

Guam has faced similar threats from North Korea in recent years, most recently in 2013, according to news files. North Korean military officials in March 2013 made a statement about the Andersen base being within "striking range."

And in October 2006, an unofficial spokesman for North Korea in Japan told ABC Radio Australia that Guam, Japan and Hawaii were potential targets if the U.N. levied tougher sanctions against North Korea, news files state.

Whether Guam is facing potential man-made or natural threats, Calvo said the island knows how to be resilient and plan for any contingency. Because of past experiences, the governor said Guam is the best American community when it comes to coordination and dialogue with the military.

Calvo said his administration will continue to provide information when it becomes available.

Trust in God, military

When asked about the latest threat, residents said they are concerned, and are placing their trust in God and the U.S. military. There wasn't much faith expressed in President Trump, however.

“It’s kind of scary, because we don't know what this guy is capable of," said Yigo Mayor Rudy Matanane about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "I hope our mother country does what’s right for us,” he said. “This guy, I don’t think he cares. He’s killed his family, so what (about) us, who he doesn’t even know?”

It’s scary. I just hope the military can protect us,” said Mangilao resident Astright Villagomez, 50.

"The threat is pretty scary," said Graceful Fiden, 28, of Tumon. "It's going on further, so we should worry about it."

Fiden said he believes in the military presence on Guam, together with the United States, but is not confident in Trump's ability to make Guam feel safe.

"I think he's probably the reason why all these things (are) going on," Fiden said.

Pacific Daily News
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