On Wednesday, officials in Guam scrambled to release statements urging calm, even if just a day earlier President Donald Trump vowed to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea.
"North Korea better get their act together, or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble", Trump said, flanked by Vice-President Mike Pence.
North Korea claims it is in the final stages of preparing a plan to launch four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and into waters just off the island of Guam, where about 7,000 US troops are based.
North Korea this week announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory, which is a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.
During a lengthy exchange with reporters, President Trump said that his threat to bring "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to threaten the United States may not have gone far enough.
"Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?" "So I think it's important to be very strong". The small US territory of Guam has become a focal point after North Korea's army threatened to use ballistic missiles to create an "enveloping fire" around the island.
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Trump has pushed China to pressure North Korea to halt a nuclear weapons program that is nearing the capability of targeting the United States.
Guam has been a US territory since 1898, when Spain ceded it in the wake of the Spanish-American War. The chilling two-page fact sheet details what citizens of the 162,000-populated island that houses 6,000 USA troops should do to survive the worst outcome of the boiling tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. In the latest development, Gen. Kim Rak Gyom, who heads North Korea's rocket command, said in a statement carried by state media that his country was "about to take" military action near Guam. "It's a propaganda, that's how I feel", he said but added that the military offered an extra reassurance.
There's a sense of patriotism among those who cite the island's history of Guam residents serving in the USA military.
Guam is about 2,100 miles (3,380 kilometers) southeast of Pyongyang and 3,800 miles (6,115 kilometers) west of Honolulu in the Pacific Ocean.
USA officials say they will be going ahead with long-scheduled military exercises with South Korea. Chamorros are the indigenous people of Guam. In 2013, state media cited leader Kim Jong Un as having ordered his military to prepare plans on launching strikes on US military bases in Guam, Hawaii and South Korea as well as the American mainland. She called the most recent threats from both sides "dangerous" and said they had heightened tensions in the region.
Guam is armed with the U.S. Army's defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which can intercept missiles.