Residents of the tiny Pacific island of Guam say they are afraid of being caught in the middle of escalating tensions between the US and North Korea.

The concerns come after Pyongyang announced it was examining plans for attacking the strategically important US territory.

Guam lies in the Philippine Sea(PA graphic)

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Though local officials downplayed any threat, some people who live on the island say they can no longer shrug off the idea of being a potential target.

Governor Eddie Baza Calvo said there was no threat to Guam or to the Mariana Islands to the north.

He added that he would continue discussions with Joint Region Marianas commander Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield to discuss military and first-responder readiness, to ensure Guam was “prepared for any eventuality”.

Guam congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo said Pentagon officials had assured her that the territory was protected.

But Ms Bordallo was critical of US president Donald Trump’s vow to answer North Korea “with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Pyongyang continued to threaten America, urging him to work with the international community to de-escalate tensions.

Guam is used to the threats from North Korea, but advances in the country’s nuclear programme paired with fiery rhetoric from President Donald Trump have heightened worries of a conflict between the nuclear-armed nations.

Guam became a US territory in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.