The governor of the U.S. territory Guam has backed President Donald Trump's controversial warning to the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, asserting that it is appropriate to threaten unprecedented retaliation against the Kim regime if it attacks the U.S. and its allies. North Korea has singled out Guam as a missile target if tensions with the U.S. escalate.
On Aug. 8, Trump warned that the U.S. would take military action against North Korea if the regime continued to threaten to strike the American mainland.
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump said during a press conference. "They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before."
The president reportedly did not consult with the Pentagon before issuing his warning.
Several lawmakers interpreted Trump's statement as a warning that he would deploy nuclear weapons against North Korea. Publishing optimization company SocialFlow found that Americans' internet searches into nuclear war surged after the president's comments.
"The public seems to be much more concerned that nuclear confrontation is a possibility," SocialFlow co-founder Frank Speiser told USA Today.
On Aug. 9, Republican Gov. Eddie Calvo of Guam said he supported Trump's call for potential retaliation but wanted confrontation to be avoided at all costs.
"As far as I'm concerned, as an American citizen, I want a president that says that if any nation such as North Korea attack Guam, attack Honolulu, attack the West Coast, they will be met with hell and fury," Calvo told Fox News.
The Republican governor voiced his alarm over calls for an all-out war with North Korea, citing comments made by GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Earlier that day, Graham asserted the Trump administration would initiate war with North Korea if it fully developed the nuclear capability to send intercontinental ballistic missiles to the U.S. or if it launches a non-nuclear attack on a U.S. ally or territory.
The South Carolina senator added that China would have to intervene and discourage the North Korean nuclear program or face war in the Pacific.
"China should have two options: deal with the nut job in your backyard or realize there will be a war in your backyard... if there's going to be a war, it's going to be in the region, not in America," Graham told CBS News.
Calvo chided Graham for his comments.
"War is the last option," Calvo concluded.
On Aug. 10, North Korean Gen. Kim Rak Gyom dismissed Trump's warning and outlined a potential airstrike against Guam, The Guardian reports.
"Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him," the general said in a statement. The general's proposed military plan would launch 12 missiles that would pass through Japan and land in the seas surrounding Guam.
Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, is home to 162,000 American citizens. Guam has a U.S. Air Force base and a U.S. naval base that is considered its frontline in the Pacific region.