Japanese fighters conducted air drills with US B-1B bombers on Tuesday

Lynette Rowe
August 10, 2017

The exercise around Japan's southern Kyushu island involved two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and two Japanese F-2 jet fighters, Japan's Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said in a news release.

It's not the first time North Korea has threatened Guam, which is a crucial, strategic hub for USA forces in the Pacific.

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 US troops.

The people of Guam woke up Thursday to another pointed threat from Pyongyang, which vowed to complete a plan to attack waters near the island by mid-August - adding a timeline to a threat from a day earlier that North Korea would create an "enveloping fire" around Guam.

The tiny US territory of Guam feels a strong sense of patriotism and confidence in the American military.

That leads to the first reason why Guam is so often in North Korea's crosshairs: It is accessible while the rest of America is not. Most recently, Pyongyang conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said in an interview with WCPO Wednesday, "We've got to also make clear to our allies and to our enemies like North Korea that. we're going to stand firm".

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The commander of the North Korean army made more threats Wednesday night, saing they will have a plan to fire on Guam by the middle of this month.

The speaker of the Guam Legislature says he hopes the island can defend itself in the event of an attack from North Korea.

Local nuclear proliferation expert Dinshaw Mistry, a University of Cincinnati professor of political science and Asian studies, said he believes the US was caught off guard.

Andersen Air Force Base is one of these key bases. The U.S. territory is home to Andersen Air Force Base.

Japan said it had conducted joint air drills with United States supersonic bombers in Japanese skies close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday as tension in the region escalates amid North Korea's continued ballistic missile tests. During wartime, Andersen would become a way station for warplanes and military transports heading further west to the Korean peninsula. The U.S. District Court of Guam legalized it in 2015, before 14 states.

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel S. Willoughby. The U.S. took control of Guam in 1898, when Spanish authorities surrendered to the U.S. Navy.

In August a year ago, 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. They threatened USA, other countries, and they threaten Guam. Ships and submarines based on the West Coast of the USA mainland frequently visit Guam as part of voyages into the western Pacific.

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