۱۱۳۸بازدید
A nuclear expert who has repeatedly visited North Korea’s nuclear facilities said he doubted the country was yet capable of attacking Guam with medium to long-range missiles, saying escalating rhetoric from both the North and the US was the real danger.
کد خبر: ۷۱۹۹۷۰
تاریخ انتشار: ۱۸ مرداد ۱۳۹۶ - ۱۲:۱۸ 09 August 2017
امتیاز خبر: 84 از 100 تعداد رای دهندگان 1138

A nuclear expert who has repeatedly visited North Korea’s nuclear facilities said he doubted the country was yet capable of attacking Guam with medium to long-range missiles, saying escalating rhetoric from both the North and the US was the real danger. 

Siegfried Hecker, a professor at Stanford University’s Centre for International Security and Co-operation, said although the North tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles last month, developing a nuclear warhead for such a missile was "extremely challenging and still beyond North Korea’s reach”.

Prof Hecker said the real threat was "stumbling into an inadvertent nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula by misunderstanding or miscalculation”.

"Inflammatory rhetoric on both sides will make that more likely,” he added.

Meanwhile authorities in Guam are reassuring citizens that the US territory is safe, following North Korea’s claim that it is examining its plan for "making an enveloping fire” around the strategically important Pacific island.

Governor Eddie Baza Calvo said there was no threat to Guam or to the Mariana Islands to the north.

He added that he would continue discussions with Joint Region Marianas commander Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield to discuss military and first-responder readiness, to ensure Guam was "prepared for any eventuality”.

Guam congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo said Pentagon officials had assured her that the territory was protected.

But Ms Bordallo was critical of US president Donald Trump’s vow to answer North Korea "with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Pyongyang continued to threaten America, urging him to work with the international community to de-escalate tensions.

Guam: What you need to know

The North Korean army’s announcement that it is examining operational plans for attacking Guam after rising tensions with President Donald Trump has brought more global attention to the tiny US territory in the Pacific than it has had in decades. Here is a rundown on the island and it strategic importance.

Geographic basics

The strip of land in the western Pacific Ocean is roughly the size of Chicago, and just 4 miles (6 km) wide at its narrowest point. It is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) southeast of North Korea, much closer than it is to any of the United States. Hawaii is about 4,000 miles (6,500 km) to the west. Its proximity to China, Japan, the Philippines and the Korean Peninsula has long made the island an essential possession of the US military.

US relationship

Guam was claimed by Spain in 1565 and became a US territory in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Japan seized it for about 2{ years during World War II. In 1950, an act of Congress made it an unincorporated organized territory of the United States. It has limited self-government, with a popularly elected governor, small legislature, and non-voting delegate in the US House of Representatives. Residents do not pay US income taxes or vote in the general election for US president. Its natives are US citizens by birth.

Military history

The US keeps a Naval base and Coast Guard station in the south, and an Air Force base in the north that saw heavy use during the Vietnam War. While already taking up 30 percent of the island, the American military has been seeking to increase its presence by relocating to Guam thousands of Marines who are currently based in Okinawa, Japan. Protecting the island is the US Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which is used to shoot down ballistic missiles. Last month, the US twice flew a pair of supersonic bombers that took off from Guam over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force after two North Korean tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles. While there has been some resistance and displeasure from the people of Guam over the US military’s presence, it is also essential to the island’s economy, second only to tourism in importance.

People and government

The island was first populated about 4,000 years ago by the ancestors of the Chamorros, still the island’s largest ethnic group.

Now, about 160,000 people live on Guam. Its capital city is Hagatna and its largest city is Dededo. Its chief languages are English and Chamorro.

It has seen various popular movements pushing for greater self-government or even US statehood, most notably a significant but failed effort in the 1980s to make it a commonwealth on par with Puerto Rico.


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