Early Thursday, North Korea announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles at the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. The island is not only a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers; it’s also home to 162,000 American citizens.
“If carried out, it would be the North's most provocative missile launch to date,” says Politico.
The announcement reveals the North Korea, if they decide to go through with the plan, will fire four Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into the waters of Guam—about 19 to 25 miles away from the shoreline.
The plan has been sent to Kim Jong Un for approval. It’s up to Kim whether they country moves forward with their plan, which would drastically escalate tensions between the Communist country the United States.
“It is unclear whether — or exactly why — North Korea would risk firing missiles so close to U.S. territory,” writes Politico.
The announcement comes in the wake of increased sanctions from the U.S. and President Trump’s threat to North Korea if they dared to attack the U.S. Politico comments that North Korea’s extremely specific plan suggests they are actually considering attacking Guam
“Hwasong-12 rockets would fly over Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures in Japan and travel 1,065 seconds before hitting the waters 30 to 40 kilometers away from Guam,” says the Report.
Hwasong-12 missiles were revealed for the first time at a military parade in North Korea. They are intermediate-range ballistic missile, which are believed to have a range of 2,300 miles. They can be fired from mobile launchers, which makes them hard to detect and destroy from the ground.
“By launching a salvo of four,” notes Politico, “The North would be attempting to make it harder for the U.S. to intercept all of the incoming missiles.”
They also pointed out that the proposed flight path over Japan is very aggressive. When they have tested in the past, they have attempted to avoid flying over neighboring countries, but they are choosing to be deliberately aggressive this time.
It also noted that the Korean People's Army Strategic Force “will finalize the plan by mid-August, present it to Kim Jong Un and ‘wait for his order.’"
If the country were to send missiles into the water off of Guam, it would be more than a test launch; it would demonstrate their military capabilities to the U.S. and the rest of the world.
South Korea has responded to the report, saying North Korea will face "stern and strong" response from both Washington and Seoul. Japan's Defense Minister, Itsunori Onodera, also noted that the missile strike would create a state of emergency in Japan, and they would step in to shoot the missiles out of the air.
“If North Korea were to actually carry it out — even if it aimed at hitting the waters off Guam and not the island itself — that would clearly pose a potential threat to U.S. territory and put the United States in a much more complicated situation than it has been during previous missile launches,” explains politico.
Do you think the situation will continue to escalate? Read what about what Japan says they'll do if North Korea launches missiles at the United States.