|How China sees itself areas of interest. Source: U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission.|
China has developed missiles that can strike Guam, the U.S. recently reported. The missiles are called the “Guam killer.”
It’s as if Guam isn’t a part of the United States.
Guam, in various news reports, is described as a “U.S. interest,” a place with “U.S. assets” or a home to military bases. Guam is not reported as a U.S. territory whose residents are U.S. citizens and no different (except for some voting rights) under law than the citizens of Kansas.
What would an attack on Guam represent? An attack on the U.S., similar to an attack on Kansas.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report that describes China's missile capabilities makes an important point missed in the news reports. The commission argues that defending Guam requires making sure that China understands that Guam is definitely part of the U.S.
“Clear statements by the United States that an attack on a regional U.S. base, particularly one located on U.S. territory inhabited by U.S. citizens, would be viewed as an attack on the United States itself and have broader strategic and political implications could help prevent Beijing’s capabilities from altering its risk calculations in such a dispute,” the report notes.
What will the news media report when it's announced that China has missiles capable of reaching Hawaii and California? Will those missiles be dubbed, as well, the Hawaiian Express or LA Killer? Probably not.
The use of the term "Guam killer" is just another illustration of the ongoing absurdity facing Guam. It is part of the U.S. but it isn’t recognized as such by anyone, including China.