How is the government of Guams organized
North Korea presents detailed plan for missile attack in Guam
The state news agency KCNA reported that the deployment plan should be in place by mid-August to fire four medium-range missiles over Japan at Guam. The rockets are said to drop in the sea 30 to 40 kilometers from Guam. Specifically, it is about four medium-range missiles of the type Hwasong-12, which fly over Japan and should hit the sea after exactly 17 minutes and 45 seconds of flight time off Guam, said the North Korean general Kim Rak Gyom via KCNA.
Experts: The situation remains extremely dangerous
30 to 40 kilometers from Guam, that would be just outside the US territorial waters around the Pacific island. Experts in South Korea nevertheless warned that the US would regard any rocket launch by the Kim Jong Un regime in the direction of its territory as a provocation, even if Pyongyang only declared the launch as a test. If only because they see a serious threat to their national security in it, said Cha Do Hyeogn of the Asian Institute for Political Studies in Seoul.
The political scientist Maseo Okonogi from the Japanese Keio University evaluates the North Korean statements as an indication that the leadership in Pyongyang wants to move the test area from the Sea of Japan to the waters off Guam. "With this announcement, they are also sending a covert message that their actions should not be an attack," he said.
The leadership in Pyongyang may want to make it clear with their unusually detailed threat that they are moving within the limits of international law with the plans, said Yang Moo Jin of the University of North Korea Studies in Seoul. John Delury from Yonsei University in Seoul also suspects that North Korea wants to protect itself with the precise information. The USA, South Korea and Japan should not misunderstand the planned missile launch as a "real attack".
US forces are ready
Nevertheless, in the mood boosted by the war rhetoric on both sides, the risk of further escalation remains high. Even if the accuracy of the North Korean Hwasong-12 missiles is very high, they could accidentally land in US territorial waters around Guam. The conflict had picked up pace after US President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and anger" if it continued its nuclear and missile program. Trump followed up on Twitter: The United States' nuclear arsenal is "more powerful than ever".
The US Seventh Fleet currently has six Aegis-class ships in the region equipped for anti-missile defense. Japan has another four such ships. In addition, the Thaad missile defense system, which the USA recently set up in South Korea, is installed on Guam. Around 163,000 people live on Guam. The US operates a military base there.
The Japanese government called on Pyongyang to comply with the new UN sanctions imposed last week and to refrain from further provocations. If North Korea fires a missile towards US territory, Japan could shoot it down, announced Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.
EU toughens North Korea sanctions
The European Union has expanded its sanctions against North Korea. The member states imposed entry bans and freezes on property against 13 other responsible parties and organizations. Among other things, the North Korean state bank FTB is affected. The reason is the country's recent missile tests. This means that a total of 160 people and organizations in North Korea are now on the EU's black list. At the beginning of August, the United Nations had already tightened its punitive measures against the communist country.
qu / kle (rtr, afp, dpa)
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