While reports North Korea may attack Guam because of U.S. military bases there have concerned Congress, one congressman has expressed fear the U.S. presence there may actually cause the small island nation to “tip over and capsize.”
North Korea is, reportedly, "examining the operational plan" of a strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. On Tuesday evening, the isolated state of North Korea warned of a strike on Guam, which has a large military presence, just hours after President Donald Trump warned that the regime would face “fire and fury” if they continued their threats.
The country’s state-run news service, KCNA, reported that the military is looking into striking several areas around the island, including Andersen Air Force Base, with ballistic missiles in order “to send a serious warning signal to the U.S.”
Guam has a population of about 162,000 people, including many military personnel and their families. It is only 210 square miles large and within the estimated range of one of North Korea’s medium-range ballistic missiles.
Many Democrats in Congress, as well as some Republicans, criticized President Trump’s “fire and fury” statement. Sen. Diane Feinstein feared that “President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments.”
However, this is not the first time a Democrat has been worried about Guam.
In 2010, Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia expressed his fear in a congressional hearing that the island would tip over due to the added weight of deploying 8,000 more Marines to U.S. military bases there.
“This is an island that at its widest level is, what, 12 miles from shore to shore? And at its smallest level, smallest location it’s 7 miles between one shore and the other. Is that correct?” Rep. Johnson asked Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet during an Armed Services Committee hearing.
“I don’t have the exact dimensions, but to your point, sir, I think Guam is a small island,” responded Admiral Willard.
“Very small island and about 24 miles, if I recall, long. Twenty-four miles long, about seven miles wide at the least widest place on the island and about 20, about 12 miles wide on the widest part of the island, and I don’t know how many square miles that is. Do you happen to know?” Rep. Johnson asked.
“I don’t have that figure with me sir, I can certainly supply it to you if you’d like,” Willard replied.
“My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize,” Rep. Johnson said without a hint of humor.
“We don’t anticipate that, the Guam population currently about 175,000 and again with about 8,000 marines and their families that’s an addition of about 25,000 more into the population,” the admiral replied.