10 Mar 2017

Mixed feelings on Guam about militarisation

9:45 am on 10 March 2017

A Guam academic says the Micronesian territory faces a greater element of threat from geopolitical tensions in the region.

Guam is strategically important to the United States, housing both an Air Force and Navy base. Here, a US F-16 flies along the island's coastline.

Guam is strategically important to the United States, housing both an Air Force and Navy base. Here, a US F-16 flies along the island's coastline. Photo: US Department of Defense

Having an anti-missile system in Guam has not necessarily made people there feel safe, according to Michael Luhan Bevacqua, an adjunct professor of Chamorros Studies at the University of Guam.

Local communities generally support the military, but are concerned about social and environmental aspects of the US military build-up

Professor Bevacqua said there was a feeling that the more military infrastructure installed, the more Guam becomes more of a target.

Yet there was also the sense, he said, that the less military capability you have, the more of a target you are.

"It's definitely mixed feelings, because the game has changed, because China is moving into the South China Sea, has developed sort of greater missile capabilities that can target and hit Guam."

"And North Korea continues to test," Professor Bevacqua said.

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