Guam is where America’s day begins. Home to over 160,000 patriotic American citizens, our island boasts one of the highest U.S. military enlistment rates per capita. Only a three-and-a-half hour flight to Asia, this resort destination is often referred to as “America’s gateway to Asia,” as it presents unique opportunities in American-Asian commerce in industries such as tourism, technology, and e-commerce.
Guam played a strategic role in the Pacific Theater during World War II. With a U.S. Naval and Air Force base and the construction of a Marine base underway, the island is often referred to as the “tip of the spear” in national defense discussions. Our people are exceptionally resilient and committed to national defense and our country’s values.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s recent saber-rattling is not new for our diverse community. We have heard and understood the implications of this rhetoric for years. As media spotlights the North Korean regime’s heightened threats, people on Guam still go about their lives. With our unique culture as a foundation, Guamanians continue their daily routines, harnessing our flourishing economy to continue the island’s upward trajectory. Tourism arrivals are at historic highs, especially from Korea, because our American community has an amazing hospitality as well as the confidence of our U.S. military, whose established multiple layers of defense provide protection to defend our families.
I believe that world leaders need to resolve the growing tensions with North Korea without resorting to war by using tools of diplomacy and sanctions. The impact of even a brief battle on the Korean peninsula has far-reaching implications both on Guam and the Asian-Pacific region. In our interconnected world, a conflict with North Korea will result in the loss of countless lives, the destabilization of regional economies, and deal a severe blow to global markets. Everyone has a stake in this issue.
Guam is America’s gateway to Asia, the “tip of the spear” in national defense and, despite recent threats from North Korea, the state of our island remains strong.