Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Rep. Rob Bishop said Wednesday that current talk from North Korea about striking Guam is mainly just rhetoric.
North Korea said it was examining its operational plans for attacking Guam — a U.S. territory about 2,100 miles away — in order to contain United States military activity there.
“The comments by North Korea, I don’t think you should take as anything out of the ordinary from what has been going on,” Bishop told KSL Newsradio.
Bishop was in Guam earlier this year and said the territory is heavily invested with military bases and military members. Bishop sits on the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the U.S. territories.
“It makes sense if North Korea would threaten somewhere, it would threaten there first because it is the new line of defense that we have for the United States,” Bishop said.
The threats from North Korea are an effort to change the way the discussion is going after sanctions from the United Nations and new pressure from China, Bishop said. But he reiterated that he believes it is just another example of empty rhetoric.
As far as President Donald Trump’s comments about responding with “fire and fury,” Bishop said, “Sometimes that’s rhetoric that I think North Korea will understand. And let’s face it, any attack on Guam is an attack on the United States.”
Utah Rep. Chris Stewart said although the conversation between the U.S. and North Korea could stand to be moderated, he agrees with those who say President Trump is trying to speak to the North Korean government in a manner they speak all the time.
"There's no question that the North Koreans understand that if they engaged in a war with the United States, they would lose that war," Stewart said. "They know that when they indicate otherwise it's simply fantasy."
Any action that follows these remarks by North Korea will be troubling, Bishop said. However, he believes without the support of Russia and China, any action by North Korea would be foolish.
Stewart told KSL Newsradio that over the last few days, he's been contacted by many people, including family members, who are worried about a nuclear attack.
"As I say to them, and it's kind of tongue-in-cheek, but it's true, I'm not in my backyard building a bomb shelter right now and I don't think others should be either," he said.
"I really don't believe people should go to bed tonight thinking, 'I wonder if the world explodes around me while I sleep.' I don't think that's going to happen."
You can hear Representative Bishop and Representative Stewart's interviews on KSL Newsradio below.