Expert reacts to latest North Korean threat of Guam attack

Posted at 11:26 PM, Aug 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 07:54:12-04

CINCINNATI -- The commander of the North Korean army made more threats Wednesday night, saing they will have a plan to fire on Guam by the middle of this month.

Local nuclear proliferation expert Dinshaw Mistry, a University of Cincinnati professor of political science and Asian studies, said he believes the U.S. was caught off guard.

"We should not be surprised because North Korea has been moving in this direction for years," Mistry said. "What may be a surprise is that this has come six months to a year sooner than folks expected."

Mistry believes the U.S. should be focused right now on avoiding a war. ABC News reported that some members of President Donald Trump's inner circle were caught by surprise by his threat that North Korea would "face fire and fury like the world has never seen" if they continue with their nuclear weapon program.

North Korean officials responded Wednesday, calling Trump's threat a "load of nonsense" and announcing they would complete their plans to strike areas around Guam, a U.S. territory, by mid-August.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has taken a softer tone.

"I think what the president was doing was sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand," he said.

Guam is home to key military bases and 160,000 Americans.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said in an interview with WCPO Wednesday, "We've got to also make clear to our allies and to our enemies like North Korea that ... we're going to stand firm."

But Mistry said the focus should now be on getting out of the shouting match.

"I think that we do not have any good options," Mistry said. "What we can try to do is look for least bad options and really move step-by-step."