HAGATNA, Guam - The world watches the ongoing war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in horror - dreading who will make the first move that has threatened to wipe out a tiny U.S. territory in the Western Pacific.
But when the U.S. President called the Governor of Guam, days after the island was issued a nuclear threat by defiant North Korea that said it would rain down missiles on the island - the tone of the conversation was relaxed and very business focussed.
When a recording of the conversation went up on the Republican governor’s Facebook page and other social media accounts - outrage gripped those who heard it as the two leaders are heard talking about how the nuclear threat is going to boost tourism.
Earlier this week, following Trump’s warning to North Korea that continued threats against the U.S., would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he received a response from the Kim Jong Un-led regime.
The response from North Korea, was specific - its target, its plan and its modus operandi all revealed in its state-run Korean Central News Agency.
The KCNA issued a statement that said the North is “seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the U.S.”
While Trump drew a red line through his warning, hoping that his aggression, along with the additional sanctions imposed on North Korea would force the country to stop making threats and advancing its nuclear weapons program - North Korea crossed the red line within 24 hours.
Trump meanwhile seemed to believe the nuclear threat will boost Guam tourism “tenfold,” and he can be heard voicing his beliefs in the recorded conversation with Gov. Eddie Calvo.
Trump said, “I have to tell you, you have become extremely famous all over the world. They are talking about Guam, and they’re talking about you.”
Commenting on tourism, he added, “I can say this: You’re going to go up, like, tenfold with the expenditure of no money.”
Calvo agreed, “It’s a paradise. We got 95 percent occupancy and after all this stuff calms down, we’re going to have 110 percent occupancy.”
To which, the president responded, “You just went to 110, I think.”
He said, “We are with you 1,000 percent. It just looks like a beautiful place.”
While reports pointed out that Guam’s $5 billion economy is fueled mainly by tourism and the U.S. military, which occupies about 30 percent of the island that houses 160,000 people - Many who heard the conversation were terrified.
Robert Underwood, president of the University of Guam explained in a statement, “I think Guam is being used as a kind of pawn in this game. I think it’s like our role in life.”
Underwood, who is a former Guam delegate to Congress, said Guam should find a way to take advantage of its relationship with the federal government if the island continues as the platform to project the United States’ military power in Asia.
He said, “I think we should get more out of this relationship than what we are getting now.”
Meanwhile, a report quoted Andrea Nicole Grajek, a local artist from Dededo Village as saying, “Listening to that call left me feeling disgusted. I was so shocked I was actually crying. They’re leaders discussing a rise in fame and tourism, while the world is watching our island carefully to see if we’ll still be here tomorrow.”
The conversation, which saw both men praising each other continued with Calvo telling Trump that he had “never felt more safe or so confident than with you at the helm. So, with all the criticism going on over there from a guy who is being targeted, we need a president like you. So I’m just so thankful. I’m glad you’re holding the helm.”
To which Trump responded, “We’re going to do a great job. You don’t have to worry about a thing. They should have had me eight years ago, somebody with my thought process.”
He added, “And frankly, you could’ve said that for the last three presidents.”