A South Korean soldier walks past a television screen showing a graphic of the distance between North Korea and Guam at a railway station in Seoul on August 9, 2017.AFP / JUNG Yeon-Je
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Residents of the tiny Pacific island of Guam say they're afraid of being caught in the middle of escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea after Pyongyang announced it was examining plans for attacking the strategically important U.S. territory.Guam serves as a launching pad for the U.S. military.The North Korean army said in a statement Wednesday that it was studying a plan to create an "enveloping fire" in areas around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles.On his flight back to Washington, Tillerson said he never considered rerouting the trip to avoid refueling in Guam.For years, North Korea has claimed Guam is within its missiles' striking distance, making furious statements each time when the U.S. flew powerful bombers from the island's air base to the Korean Peninsula.Guam is armed with the U.S. Army's defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which can intercept missiles.Similar threats in 2013 led Guam's U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo to advocate for the THAAD system, she said in a statement Wednesday.Guam's Homeland Security Adviser George Charfauros urged calm and said defenses are in place for such threats.
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