North Korea’s threats to launch a nuclear missile strike against the US. Territory of Guam has affected the island’s tourism industry, Pacific Daily News reported Thursday.
Around 1.3 million tourists visit Guam every year. Visitors from Asia and South Korea make up the majority of that demographic, followed by Japan.
Last July, just over 61,000 South Koreans visited Guam. Guam Visitors Bureau President and CEO Jon Denight released a statement to the Pacific Daily News saying the island was “a safe and protected island destination.”
The president of Rotary Club of Guam Alupang Residence, Tae S. Oh, also tried to provide reassurance at a monthly meeting, saying that “there haven’t been any cancellations” of Korean tourists concerned about their safety. However, he did note, “There have been some concerns. We have received some concerned messages.”
John S. Ko, president of the tourism company NET Enterprises Inc., saw the situation a little differently.
“We shouldn’t be worried, but according to our reservation system online, many cancellations,” Ko said. “I think we are OK. We are blessed that we’re on American soil and we have the strongest military in the world. But there have been many cancellations,” Ko told Pacific Daily.
A ballistic missile from North Korea would take only about 14 minutes to reach Guam, Guam’s Homeland Security office told USA Today. Additionally, a U.S. spy satellite, alongside other means, can surveil the DPRK’s preparation before a missile is even launched, giving more time for the U.S. to assess and respond to the threat.
“We would have to take proper self-defense measures,” David Maxwell, a retired Army colonel and associate director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, told USA Today. “We would not want to take a chance to allow it to hit.”