‘No immediate threat’: US says North Korea's latest missile launch a failure
Guam faces no immediate threat following some of the latest developments in North Korea, which included what the U.S. military called a failed missile launch yesterday morning.
Gov. Eddie Calvo received the assurance, based on the U.S. military's assessments and a briefing from the Guam Homeland Security and Office of Civil Defense.
"At this point, Guam is in no immediate threat," the governor's office announced in a statement.
The U.S. military and the White House publicly sent multiple indirect messages, some of them mixed, to the Kim Jong Un regime these past few days.
"We want to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses – not to his knees," the U.S. Pacific Command tweeted Saturday.
Possible military options
Meanwhile, a Department of Defense media report quotes an unnamed official as having said the National Security Council is assessing military options, to possibly stop North Korea from conducting further nuclear tests, or test-firing missiles.
The DoD report said military officials "declined to comment on specifics of the strategy for stopping North Korea from launching ballistic missiles and testing nuclear weapons, although they said sanctions were one of the tools being considered."
On the eve of Vice President Mike Pence's first official trip to the Asia-Pacific region, North Korea launched another missile test Sunday morning that failed and exploded before it could gain further altitude, stated the Pacific Command.
Pence began his first official trip to the Asia-Pacific region April 15 to, among other things, reinforce the Trump administration's full commitment to U.S. security alliances there, senior administration officials said in the Department of Defense media report.
Pence is expected to meet with top officials in Seoul, Tokyo, Jakarta and Sydney for discussions on economic engagement and evolving security challenges. He was also reported to be making a stop in Hawaii on his trip back. There was no word whether his plane would make a stop at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
In another tweet, the Pacific Command showed a photo of Gen. Sun Jin Lee, South Korean military's chairman of the joint chiefs of staff; and U.S. Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, during their November 2016 visit to the Guam-based ballistic missile defense system called the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD.
Parts of another THAAD system were delivered to South Korea in March, a move that China openly objected.
"It's a critical point for the defense of South Korea in recognizing it's not an offensive weapon," stated the Department of Defense media report. "It's there to prevent rockets slamming from the North Koreans."
The Pentagon sent a THAAD missile defense system to Guam in April 2013, after North Korea started making threats toward U.S. military bases in Guam, Japan and South Korea.
Some defense analysts have said in recent years that Guam should worry more about missiles from China that can reach Guam, rather than North Korea's missiles.
"(China's missile) range would cover U.S. military installations on Guam, roughly 1,800 miles from the Chinese mainland, prompting some analysts and netizens to refer to the missile as the ]Guam Express' or 'Guam Killer,'" stated the Australian Naval Institute.