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NBC's report comes after a state-media outlet said Pyongyang was "seriously considering" an attack on Guam.

Though local officials downplayed any threat, people who live and work on the island, which serves as a launching pad for the USA military, said Wednesday they could no longer shrug off the idea of being a potential target. She noted that similar threats in 2013 led to an advanced missile defense system - known as THAAD, for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense - to be permanently placed on the island as a deterrent.

The U.S. B1-B bombers that are deployed to the Asia Pacific are based at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. Along with the USA itself, the two allies are frequently targets of Pyongyang's threatening rhetoric. "Some people [say], 'We just want our peace, our island groove that we've always have.' There are other people who are just sick and exhausted of the threats from North Korea because there sure have been many over the years".

"I think Americans should sleep well at night", Tillerson said.

President Moon Jae-in however, has called for a "rebirth" of his country's defenses in the face of Kim Jong-un's nuclear threats and told commanders he wants to build a "winning military".

The second reason North Korea obsesses over Guam is the island is a spear pointed at the Korean People's Army and the Kim regime.

According to the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, the missile defense system, which entails a tracking radar, launcher, interceptor missiles and an integrated fire-control system, has a 14 out of 14 test intercept success rate since 2006.

However, Bennett added, it depended how far away the missiles were targeted, as the total range of THAAD was 200 kilometers (124 miles).

"Obviously you can't run a war from a base that's without power and water" after a major storm, Andrew Holland, the group's director of studies, said, citing a 2002 typhoon that hit the island and left it without electrical power for "weeks".

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Alternatively, United States destroyers equipped with Aegis ballistic missile defenses could take down a missile at an even longer range, before it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere.

Guam's homeland security advisor, George Charfauros, said the situation was being closely monitored but that there was "no imminent threat to the safety of the residents and visitors of Guam and the CNMI [Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands] at this time".

Tokyo, which has in the past warned it would shoot down any North Korean missiles that threaten its territory, responded that it could "never tolerate" provocations from the reclusive state.

This story has been corrected to show that the North Korean announcement came Wednesday in Guam due to the global date line.

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - Residents of the tiny Pacific island of Guam say they're afraid of being caught in the middle of escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea after Pyongyang announced it was examining plans for attacking the strategically important US territory.

And U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, are urging people to stay calm.

Even if everything went right for the Pentagon, a USA strike campaign against North Korea would take up to a week to be effective, said Kristensen.

"We know that it's serious", Austin J. Shelton III, a marine biologist and the executive director of the Center for Island Sustainability at the University of Guam said in the Times article.

"If it doesn't, that means you might have some sort of software or system failure and better to find that out in peacetime rather than at war".

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