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There’s more to Guam than U.S. military bases, residents say

Tourists walk the beach in Tumon, Guam on Thursday. The small U.S. territory of Guam has become a focal point after North Korea's army threatened to use ballistic missiles to create an "enveloping fire" around the island. The exclamation came after President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang of "fire and fury like the world has never seen."
Tourists walk the beach in Tumon, Guam on Thursday. The small U.S. territory of Guam has become a focal point after North Korea's army threatened to use ballistic missiles to create an "enveloping fire" around the island. The exclamation came after President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang of "fire and fury like the world has never seen." The Associated Press

Chatter about North Korea’s threats to Guam has residents and supporters fighting back online against misinformation and derogatory comments about the U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean.

    The people of Guam woke up Thursday to another pointed threat from Pyongyang, which vowed to complete a plan to attack waters near the island by mid-August – adding a timeline to a threat from a day earlier that North Korea would create an “enveloping fire” around Guam.

    Like other U.S. territories, Guam has a sometimes complicated relationship with the U.S. mainland but many across the island say despite the threats and concerns they feel reassured and protected by the military – especially in times of tense, geopolitical sparring.

    About 160,000 people live on the island, which extends about 12 miles at its widest. The American military presence on Guam consists of two bases — Andersen Air Force Base in the north and Naval Base Guam in the south – which are home to 7,000 U.S. troops.

    Thrust into the spotlight, residents and supporters of the island find themselves defending Guam and correcting misinformation online even as they worry about what might come next.

    Many are irked by the endless commentary about U.S. forces on Guam by cable news pundits and experts attempting to introduce U.S. viewers to the island.

    Others find the inevitable online jokes and dismissive comments about Guam particularly tasteless, given the situation.

    Some posters lament the lack of knowledge about Guam on the part of most U.S. residents.

    The newfound attention also has sparked discussion about Guam’s relationship with the United States as well as messages of support.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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