There is a lot going on in North Korea these days. The DPRK continues to engage in a variety of missile tests intended to shoot down aircraft and attack land-based targets. The South Koreans have also been testing ballistic missiles launched from the sea.
Western nation and allied defense and intelligence chiefs gathered on the Korean Peninsula this week to discuss a variety of matters as a huge military weapons sales’ events are taking place in South Korea as well.
Deep concerns remain over claims that China and/or North Korea have tested hypersonic type weapons. If and when China or Russia become able to successfully prove that they have the operational capability to use hypersonic weapons, it will mean that the United States and its colonial possessions in the Pacific such as Guam will become more vulnerable.
The U.S. doesn’t have a defensive architecture in place and operational that can with 100% certainty destroy an incoming hypersonic weapon headed toward Guam or the CNMI.
The Korean Peninsula is ripe for a miscalculated event to take place because the North Koreans are heavily influenced by China and Russia. Things become further complicated because South Korea and the United States are strong allies and have similar and differing interests.
The United States, for example, lifted restrictions on South Korea’s ability to develop missiles intended to carry conventional weapons. America also supports South Korea’s efforts to launch its own inventories of military spy satellites. Previously the South Koreans relied 100% on U.S. spy agency resources for space-based intelligence information.
The U.S. has also been fully unable to use its national influence and power to sponsor real long-term trust and goodwill between the Japanese and South Korean governments due in part to historical events related to war and peace, and cultural differences and attitudes.
While miscalculations can occur, hot war can still be avoided
Basically, over the past 30 years or so, the United States has been engaged with North Korea in ways to stem nuclear weapons development and proliferation, with mixed results.
American political leaders have used sanctions to influence decisions made by North Korea’s leaders such as food aid to persuade DPRK to move away from developing various facets of its nuclear program.
The United States remains a country that approaches the North Korean situation from a variety of angles. Both the Congress and the White House remain involved on matters tied to North Korea.
America has also used state designation labels and removals of these labels as well as the freezing of select cash funds to persuade North Korea to behave in certain ways.
The fundamental challenge that continues to plague both the United States and North Korea is more about human trust and verification of existing agreements in place.
At times the U.S. has gone at this alone and at other times, it has brought in several nations to assist with finding ways to incentivize the North Koreans to comply with existing nuclear weapons development frameworks that the DPRK has previously agreed to.
The paucity of trust is what has informed American actions toward North Korea because U.S. strategies in dealing with North Korea are both cooperative and coercive. To date, North Korea continues to move forward on its nuclear weapons program, to the frustration of the United States. The United States has responded by using its influence to push for multinational economic sanctions against North Korea.
There is no clear end in sight.
This geopolitical playing field remains complex
The U.S. has never operated out of a vacuum when it comes to matters related to North Korea. America has and continues to take into consideration the desires and interests of South Korea and understand the near area interests of both China and Russia with regards to how decisions made on North Korea by the United States will influence regional politics and responses throughout NE Asia.
How Guam is of vital interest to the balance of power exercised by the United States
DPRK’s leader views the U.S. as a premier military threat. To the extent that North Korea’s leader is threatened by U.S.-Japan-South Korean military exercises near or on the Korean Peninsula, DPRK will continue to do what is in its national interest.
The Marianas, particularly Guam, acts as one shore-based launching point to support a variety of military, paramilitary, and intelligence-related work against North Korea.
Guam’s proximity to the Korean Peninsula and our island’s subordinated status as a political colony of the United States makes it an ideal place to receive, maintain, prepare, and deploy American strategic lethal assets of the Air Force, in direct support of projecting American military might against North Korea.
Conversely, the Navy remains very resource-stressed every time one or several of its military ships are required to provide missile defense should North Korea decide to launch a ground-based missile attack against Guam or Japan or elsewhere.
Marianas villagers remain vulnerable
If the North Koreans ever launched a missile toward Guam or the Northern Marianas, our families have no place to go.
If an attack was initiated and the Navy did not shoot down the incoming missile, our people have no second line of protection to use because all the Mariana Islands do not have nuclear bomb shelters to go to. In other words, it would be game over for our Chamorro people and all those present should North Korea successfully launch a missile attack targeting our island chain.
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Rick Perez used to serve in the U.S. military and has work experiences in public policy research and public affairs. He is passionate about national security and geopolitics and runs a newsletter called Guam Affairs at guamaffairs.substack.com. For questions or comments, contact Perez at email@example.com.