Fear grips residents of the Pacific island of Guam as tension between Washington and Pyongyang escalates following North Korea’s threat that it is studying plans for striking the highly important U.S. military base. Guam is a U.S. held territory located in the Pacific close to the korean peninsula.

Officials in the tiny island downplayed the threat by North Korea. Upon return from his triple to Malaysia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson headed straight to Guam to reassure U.S. commitment. Residents of the island expressed the fear of being a potential target of nuclear conflicts. Guam is the strike base of the U.S. military might.

Residents express worries

Approximately 163,000 people reside on the tiny island which is about 12 miles, approximately 19 kilometers, wide. Though the threat from Pyongyang on the island is not new, the technological advancement recorded in the country’s nuclear weapons program combined with the recent rhetoric of fire by President Trump has increased the already tense situation and heightened fears from residents that a miscalculation could lead to uncontrolled conflict between the two nuclear foes.

Intelligence officials say Pyongyang has mastered a nuclear technology capable of conveying both medium and long range nuclear missile that could hit the U.S. mainland and its Korean Peninsula allies. The nuclear advances were also reported by a Japanese assessment and a report published by the Washington Post that cites confidential Department of Defense report.

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On Tuesday, Trump responded by threatening the reclusive state with fire and fury. North Korea on Wednesday announced it was examining a plan to launch an attack on the U.S. held territory of Guam with both medium and long range ballistic and nuclear missiles.

Tillerson downplayed threat

Aboard the plan to protect Guam, Tillerson told journalists that he does not believe there is any escalation of threat. He stated that the Trump administration is hopeful the pressure campaign and the U.N. sanctions which have received support from around the world, and with the pledge by Russia and China, the regime in North will begin to feel the need to reconsider their actions and think about engaging in a roundtable dialogue about the future of their country.

Though the likelihood of Pyongyang risking annihilation of its most revered regime with a nuclear attack on U.S. territories is slim, residents of the Island Of Guam are deeply worried over the renewed threat and rhetoric.