Guam, CNMI residents advised to stay vigilant on missile tests

Four F-15E Strike Eagles fly over Guam.

While giving reassurance that North Korea’s latest round of ballistic missile tests posed no immediate threat to Guam and the Northern Marianas, federal and local homeland security officials advised local residents to remain vigilant. 

In response to the U.S. and allied forces’ ongoing airpower exercises, Pyongyang has renewed its saber-rattling, blustering about its capability to launch a “fatal nuclear counterattack.” 

Air forces from the U.S., Japan, Australia and France have spread out across 1,200 miles of the Pacific Ocean as part of the Cope North exercises, which began Feb. 10 and run through Feb. 24, to test their  airpower and ability to operate remotely from their bases.

“The offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense, in conjunction with the Mariana Regional Fusion Center, federal and military partners, continue to monitor events surrounding the region including reports of the recent launch of an unidentified projectile out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” states a press release from the homeland security agency.

After Saturday’s tests, North Korea on Monday fired two more ballistic missiles off its east coast, warning that it could turn the Pacific into a “firing range.” 

“The 600 mm multiple rocket launcher, involved in the firing, is the latest type of multiple launch precision attack weapon system of the KPA,” the state media KCNA said. “It is a tactical nuclear attack means boasting of the great might powerful enough to assign only one multiple rocket launcher with four shells so as to destroy an enemy operational airfield.”

KCNA said the missile travelled up to a maximum altitude of 5768.5 km and flew 989 km for 4015 seconds before accurately hitting the pre-set area in open waters of the East Sea of Korea. 

North Korea said its latest ICBM launch drill ”is an actual proof of the DPRK strategic nuclear force’s consistent efforts to turn its capacity of fatal nuclear counterattack on the hostile forces into the irresistible one as well as a guarantee for and a clear proof of the sure reliability of our powerful physical nuclear deterrent.” “While there is no immediate threat assessed for Guam or the Northern Marianas, we remind the community to remain vigilant and stay up to date with activity in our region,” said Samantha Brennan, Homeland Security Advisor. “GHS/OCD will continue to work with our military and federal partners in order to provide timely notices.”