On July 28, it conducted a second test of its long-range Hwasong-14 ICBM.
According to news outlet KCNAWatch, the North Korean state media gave the ominous warning that the United States and its allies would be made to pay dearly for their harsh sanctions, pressure, and irresponsible military provocations against Pyongyang. "China has done little to help!"
Where Pyongyang has consistently surprised, under Kim Jong Un, is in the exponential technical progress resulting from a barrage of missile and nuclear tests, and the bewildering variety of delivery systems now under development in North Korea. Kim appeared in photos sitting at a table with a large map marked by a straight line between what appeared to be northeastern North Korea and Guam, and passing over Japan - apparently showing the missiles' flight route.
Despite some frightened misinterpretations otherwise, it is not threatening to actually attack Guam.
The president's recent comments are in response to Kim threatening a missile attack on USA territory Guam. To keep the situation from getting too much out of control, it needed to explain itself on the record to defuse complaints from China and make sure Washington knew it wasn't the opening volley of a Korean War 2.0.
Gofigan said there was not a lot of panic in Guam, and that people's faith - the island has been overwhelmingly Catholic since the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the 17th century- has been on display in recent days.
As an unincorporated USA territory, citizens of Guam can not vote in general elections.
But it could also use another familiar rationale.
USA officials have said new US steps targeting Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang are in the works, but these have appeared to be put on hold to give Beijing time to show it is serious about enforcing new United Nations sanctions.
Already, the Department of Defence announced that US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford and US Pacific Command Chief Harry Harris had spoken by phone with South Korea's top military official, General Lee Sun-jin, to discuss military-response options to the launch. The next big ones are set to start, on schedule, on August 21.
Governor Calvo said while he agreed with sending a clear message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he didn't "want the temperature to get any higher".
Guam's economy is heavily dependent on tourism and a large US military base, which occupies 30 percent of the island.
It could use the next one to justify sending its missiles toward Guam as something of a counter-display.
North Korea in a conflict?
The small Pacific island is a United States territory about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) south east of the Korean peninsula. While there are no rhetorical "off-ramps" in sight, the costs of war are so high that North Korea and the United States will probably learn to deter each other, provided both can master the more clinical vocabulary and syntax of nuclear deterrence as it was practiced during the Cold War.
"The U.S. will only agree to talk with the North if it thinks a physical clash is imminent", said Koo, the former South Korean intelligence official. The intermediate and long-range missiles are still being developed and it's still questionable whether they can reliably strike targets. "Two can play at this game now".