The U.S. territory of Guam has already been mentioned a couple of times by North Korea as a possible missile strike target as tensions rise between America and the rogue nation, but a new report that China has practiced bombing runs against the island is raising new concerns.
U.S. military officials told Defense News on Tuesday that China flew bomber jets near Guam and practiced bombing runs. The officials also said the Chinese bombers have also flown near Hawaii.
Officials speculated that this could be a move by China to “declare the Nine-Dash line as theirs,” in an effort to enforce that the South China Sea is fully under Chinese control.
While it was said that a conflict with China is not imminent, there is some worry of an attack by air on Guam if China moves to assert its control in the region.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said the U.S. views itself as “a Pacific power” and that America’s “future economic prosperity is inextricably linked to our security and political relationships in the region.”
“If we find ourselves in conflict out there we will be under air attack,” the official added.
Earlier in October, the U.S. Navy announced that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier would be involved in a joint drill with South Korea and the U.S. territory of Guam was singled out as a possible target of North Korea.
This wasn’t the first time Guam was mentioned as a possible target.
In response to President Donald Trump’s words in August that North Korea would see “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continued down the path to nuclear power and aggression, an army official speaking through North Korean state-run media KCNA named Guam as a potential target with intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs).
The official said U.S. military bases there like the Andersen Air Force Base were in North Korea’s sights.
The U.S. does have nuclear-capable bombers in Guam.