North Korea missiles can reach Guam in 14 minutes, local official says


North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. 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.

President Donald Trump has issued a number of warnings to the rogue state over its threats to the U.S. and on Friday said leader Kim Jong Un will "truly regret an attack on Guam".

Citing unnamed defence officials, NBC reported that the USA would use a fleet of B-1B bombers to take out 24 North Korean missile launch sites, according to a plan drawn up by the Pentagon. Located on the northeast side of the island, the Air Force base retains a fleet of B52 bombers and fighter jets. But residents are increasingly anxious over Washington's escalating war of words with North Korea. But they say the behind-the-scenes discussions could still be a foundation for more serious negotiation.

Guam is home to about 163,000 people and a US military base that includes a submarine squadron, an air base and a Coast Guard group.

Guam is the closest USA territory to North Korea at a distance of approximately 2,130 miles.

Here's a look at the US military's role on the island, which became a USA territory in 1898.

"This time, the North Korean threat is different, and more worrisome because North Korea's Guam-specific threat was reportedly in reaction to President Trump's statement saying: 'North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States".

A boy plays near the World War II remnants of a torpedo at Asan Memorial Park on the island of Guam. The U.S. bases another TPY-2 at Andersen Air base in Guam. Guam officially became a US territory in 1950 and was put under the administration of the Department of the Navy.

The U.S. keeps a Naval base and Coast Guard station in the south, and an Air Force base in the north that saw heavy use during the Vietnam War.

There's a sense of patriotism among those who cite the island's history of Guam residents serving in the USA military.

The U.S. took control of Guam in 1898, when Spanish authorities surrendered to the U.S. Navy. Residents do not pay USA income taxes or vote in the general election for US president. Just forcing the talk would in itself be a success for North Korea.

Guam elected its first governor in 1970 and, since 1972, has had one nonvoting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives.

It comes as cracks between the two countries allegiance seem to have appeared as the row between North Korea and the USA threatens to spill over into military action between the two nuclear powers.

But with Pyongyang regularly threatening to turn Seoul into a "sea of flames" - and nagging questions over Washington's willingness to defend it if doing so put its own cities in danger of retaliatory attacks - the South's media are leading calls for a change of tack. Chamorros are the indigenous people of Guam.