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[Saipan Tribune] North Korea Threats Prompt Contingency Plan For CNMI

U.S. military ‘fully prepared’ to defend territory

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By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 5, 2013) – Northern Marianas’ Governor Eloy S. Inos said yesterday the CNMI has worked with federal authorities to come up with a “plan of action for all CNMI residents” as North Korea ratcheted up its threats to attack U.S. bases including those in Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland. Local officials welcomed the Pentagon’s announcement that it is sending ballistic missile defenses to Guam, the CNMI’s closest neighbor and is home to U.S. naval and air bases in the Western Pacific.

Inos said local and federal stakeholders have developed a “Contingency Plan for Foreign Military Threats” in the past few days.

“CNMI authorities have been working arduously with the joint planning group in an effort to formulate a plan of action for all CNMI residents. Lt. Gov. (Jude) Hofschneider and I, through our Special Assistant for Homeland Security and Emergency Management, have been in constant communication with the Government of Guam and Guam Homeland Security,” Inos said in a statement last night.

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) separately said last night that the U.S. military is “fully prepared to defend the U.S. and our allies against the threat from North Korea.”

“And the deployment to Guam of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), a sophisticated anti-missile defense system that should be arriving on Guam in the coming weeks, is one more precautionary move to strengthen our regional defense posture,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune.

Sablan said he was recently briefed on classified military matters that are of particular interest to the CNMI.

Senate Floor Leader Ray Yumul (IR-Saipan), who served in Iraq from October 2004 to January 2006 as a member of the 100 Battalion, 442 Infantry Regime of the U.S. Army Reserve, said yesterday that while he is concerned about North Korea’s threats, he has faith in the U.S. military.

“I can attest first hand that the U.S. can thwart and counter any type of aggressive action that our adversary may attempt,” Yumul told Saipan Tribune.

He also thinks it would be a “good idea” to have a briefing from the military about the situation.

“It will help calm the thoughts of the CNMI and Guam residents,” Yumul added.

Inos said his administration continues to be kept apprised of ongoing developments, with the assistance of Guam Homeland Security and in collaboration with intelligence officers from the Department of Defense.

“As we know, North Korea has made a barrage of war threats and menacing announcements since March 7, when the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions against it for conducting a nuclear test in February. At this time, based on information we have received, I can assure you that defense measures are in place to defend the CNMI and our brothers and sisters in Guam from a military threat. This means we are protected in many layers to deter the foreign military event. We will continue to stay actively engaged in all ongoing communications regarding this matter,” the governor said.

Sablan, for his part, said the precautionary move to further strengthen the regional defense posture with the deployment of THAAD “is telling of our military’s heightened concern about the crisis.”

“But the move, more importantly, demonstrates our readiness and intention to defend ourselves and our allies from these threats,” he added.

Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo, in a separate statement, said she is “encouraged” that the Pentagon will soon be deploying a THAAD missile system to Guam “to defend our island and the Asia-Pacific region.”

“Although North Korea continues to make aggressive threats that do not match the readiness or capabilities of their military, it is critical that we take every threat against our country seriously,” Bordallo said.

She added that these threats and North Korea’s nuclear test and rocket launches demonstrate the critical need for the rebalance to the increasingly vital Asia-Pacific region.

“I hope that Congress recognizes that further delays in the Guam and broader Asia-Pacific realignments make our allies question our commitment to the region. Moreover, I hope that North Korea will work with our international community to end its development of nuclear and offensive weapons systems,” she added.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com
Copyright © 2013 Saipan Tribune. All Rights Reserved

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