Guam Under Threat: US Attempts to Shoot Down North Korean Missiles

The US is considering shooting down any North Korean missiles tests that are aimed at the waters that surround the US territory of Guam; experts warm technology is not guaranteed to work

Pyongyang strengthened its commitment on its threats to launch missiles at Guam, announcing a potential plan on state media for the “simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 (rockets).”

Senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, Adam Mount, told CNN that the US military could be using its THAAD defense system or Aegis destroyers in an attempt to stop the North Korean projectiles. THAAD is known as the US’s key weapon against offensive missiles.

“If they had confidence from their readings that they would not hit US territory, it’s possible they’d just let them fall into the sea, but I think they’d also take a very serious look at shooting them down,” he said.

If the missiles were to land within 25 miles of Guam, as previously threatened, according to UN law, they would fall within the US’s economic zone, even though not within their territorial waters.

Senior Adviser George Charfauros told CNN right after the initial threat against Guam took place that he was strongly confident of their defense systems.

“They’ve slowly developed their capabilities but we stand in high confidence with the US (Defense Department’s) ability to not only defend Guam and the surrounding areas but also the continental US… There are several layers of ballistic missile defense.”

On the other hand, Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst, said that in the end it would be President Donald Trump’s decision whether to test their missile defenses.

“This is an experimental system — we could potentially miss or hit, we don’t know for sure. And even people who make cell phones, who have substantially more testing than THAAD does, sometimes have cell phones burn up,” he said.

Mount also said that any attempt to shoot down the missile could be exactly what Kim Jong Un wants, due to the fact that missing even one projectiles would be an embarrassment for the US military.