Guam’s THAAD missile defense battery and a planned new AEGIS missile system in South Korea are taking on greater strategic importance, as North Korea’s military threats increase.
Washington, D.C. – North Korea claims it’s deployed “offensive means” to strike South Korea and “US imperialist aggressor forces’ bases in the Asia-Pacific region and the US mainland.”
The statement comes in response to the launch Monday of major US-South Korea military exercises, including rehearsals of surgical strikes and “decapitation raids” against North Korea’s leaders and main nuclear and missile facilities.
The latest tensions follow statements by top US military leaders in late February, the US is prepared for the threat. PACOM Admiral Harry Harris says, “We have a THAAD battery in Guam, that’s there on a temporary basis, now…that’s expected to go to a permanent status, PCS status, if you will, later this year… and, as we work with the Koreans, to consult on putting THAAD in Korea as well. And the other part of that, of course, is AEGIS.”
The Pentagon deployed a THAAD missile defense battery to Guam in 2013, after North Korea’s repeated threats to Guam and the US mainland.
Those threats have not gone away, but only intensified, as the US and UN have responded to North Korea’s latest nuclear bomb tests and missile or satellite launches.
Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has pushed hard in and out of national defense bills, to make THAAD permanent on Guam.
Pyongyang has helped.
A January Guam-originated B-52 overflight of the Korean peninsula, left no doubt of Guam’s ‘point of the spear’ strategic importance in the Pacific.
Together with the military ‘pivot’ and rebalance of troops to Guam, the US maintains a forward presence in the region in defense of both US citizens and allies, including South Korea.