North Korea on Thursday announced a detailed plan to launch a volley of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.
North Korea says it is in the final stages of preparing a plan to launch four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and into waters off the tiny island of Guam, where about 7,000 USA troops are based and 160,000 US civilians live.
"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely", the president said on Twitter, adding "hopefully Kim Jong-un will find another path!"
Asked if people in Guam should be anxious about North Korea's threats, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters en route to Seattle this week, "No". The tiny island is home to major USA air and naval facilities.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said there are two scenarios that could trigger war with North Korea.
"I feel that the presence of the military on Guam will help us a lot", said Virgie Matson, 51, a resident of Dededo, Guam's most populated village.
Japan will reportedly discuss the issue with the US during a meeting of foreign and defense ministers of the two nations set for next week.
North Koreans have lived for decades with the state media message that war is imminent, the U.S.is to blame and their country is ready to defend itself.
Under a treaty signed between China and the North back in 1961, China is obliged to defend North Korea in the event of an attack.
But with Pyongyang regularly threatening to turn Seoul into a "sea of flames" - and nagging questions over Washington's willingness to defend it if doing so put its own cities in danger of retaliatory attacks - the South's media are leading calls for a change of tack.
Naval Base Guam is an important outpost for US fast-attack nuclear powered submarines that are a key means for gathering intelligence in the region, including off the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea where China has been building military bases on man-made islands that have stirred tension across Asia.
Six B-1B bombers, each capable of carrying up to 84 missiles, are stationed at Guam's military base.
Guam Governor Eddie Calvo said the remote Pacific island was accustomed to being a target ever since Washington placed military installations there.
"North Korea has always threatened other countries". Guam stayed under naval rule until 1950, when the Organic Act made Guam a self-governing territory of the USA and its residents became US citizens. Spain's colonial rule continued until the USA took control in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Residents do not pay USA income taxes or vote in the general election for US president.
Resident Isaac Camacho, 19, says he feels Guam's relationship with the US mainland is "a little misunderstood on their part".
Greg Kuntz, acting public affairs director for Joint Region Marianas, said the military on island continues to maintain standard operations amid threats from North Korea. Three weeks later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was legal throughout the U.S., including all its territories.
The official languages of Guam are English and Chamorro, which means 'noble.' It's a Malayo-Polynesian language that has incorporated Spanish words over time.