President Donald Trump is warning of severe consequences if North Korea attacks Guam.
Guam's governor on Thursday said the USA territory was "well-equipped" to handle any North Korean strike thanks to robust infrastructure that had survived earthquakes and typhoons, after Pyongyang released a detailed plan to launch missiles towards the island.
Guam, the Pacific island that is a U.S. territory, posted emergency guidelines on Friday to help residents prepare for any potential nuclear attack after a threat from North Korea to fire missiles in its vicinity.
The exercises are an annual event, but come as Pyongyang says it is readying a plan to fire off four Hwasong-12 missiles toward the tiny island, which is USA territory and major military hub.
North Korea said on Saturday that almost 3.5 million workers, party members and soldiers volunteered to join or rejoin its army to resist new U.N. sanctions and to fight against the United States in the current geopolitical tension between Pyongyang and Washington. Trump said he thought US allies South Korea and Japan were "very happy" with how he was handling the confrontation.
While immediate confirmation of the reports was not available, Japan has in the past vowed to shoot down North Korean missiles or rockets that threaten to hit its territory. But it is as steeped in US culture as any small city on the mainland - even if shoppers at its Kmart (the biggest in the world) can look outside and see a lush Pacific island setting. "Fight tonight" has long been the motto of US forces in South Korea to show they're always ready for combat on the Korean Peninsula.
The Guam scenario comes at an alarming time for the USA, as the Washington Post cited US intelligence officials Tuesday as saying that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, a conclusion not yet mentioned by South Korea's military.
North Korea is actually capable of hitting Guam with its Hwasong-12.
KCNA said on Wednesday a mass rally was held in Pyongyang to support the government.
The analysis was said to have been completed on July 28 in a classified summary by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Residents of Guam have been issued with advice on what to do if North Korea launches an attack.
The majority of islanders are ethnically Chamorro - the indigenous group that has lived on the island for thousands of years - and their culture is a touchstone for the islander's way of life.
Guam is about 2,100 miles southeast of Pyongyang, and 3,800 miles west of Honolulu.
There's a sense of patriotism among those who cite the island's history of Guam residents serving in the US military.
In August previous year, the North's Foreign Ministry warned that all USA military bases in the Pacific including Guam would "face ruin in the face of all-out and substantial attack" by the North's military.
The president warned that if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before - what will happen in North Korea".
Guam is armed with the U.S. Army's defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which can intercept missiles.