Fake social media post claims North Korea attack imminent

Frederick Owens
August 13, 2017

The tiny US territory of Guam feels a strong sense of patriotism and confidence in the American military, which has an enormous presence on the Pacific island. The place fills up fast with locals and military personnel, "kind of a little bit of everything", says Monique Genereux, who opened the bar and restaurant a few years ago. Seoul is 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) to the northwest, Tokyo is 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) north and Taipei is 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) west.

Though local officials downplayed any threat, people who live and work on the island, which serves as a launching pad for the USA military, said Wednesday they could no longer shrug off the idea of being a potential target. The American military presence on Guam consists of two bases — Andersen Air Force Base in the north and Naval Base Guam in the south — which are home to 7,000 USA troops. It did so to compensate for US forces diverted from other bases in the Asia-Pacific region to fight in the Middle East. The military plans to move thousands of U.S. Marines to Guam from Okinawa in southern Japan.

In August past year, the North's Foreign Ministry warned that all US military bases in the Pacific including Guam would "face ruin in the face of all-out and substantial attack" by the North's military. If carried out, it would be the North's most provocative missile launch to date.

Andersen Air Force Base hosts a Navy helicopter squadron and Air Force bombers that rotate to Guam from the USA mainland.

Jacob Martinez, 29, a purchasing officer at a high-end hotel, said he was frustrated that Guam, an island smaller than Singapore and about 11,000 km away from the US mainland, might be dragged into a major conflict. Residents do not pay USA income taxes or vote in the general election for US president.

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Guamanians have served in all major USA wars since World War II and see military service as a source of pride. The U.S. took back control of Guam on July 21, 1944. Guam was also a refueling and transfer spot for people heading to Southeast Asia, and many refugees fleeing Saigon were evacuated through Guam.

The tweet follows days of rising tensions between the USA and North Korea, with Trump warning to rain down "fire and fury" if North Korea continued a series of nuclear and missile technology tests.

He said now is the time to pray that the leaders of the USA and North Korea will choose peace over war.

In 2013, the Army sent a missile defense system to Guam called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD.

Having experienced a Japanese invasion in World War Two and countless earthquakes and super-typhoons, there was no United States community better prepared than Guam "for any contingency", Calvo, dressed in a light blue tropical shirt, said in an interview at his office.

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