Friday, June 19, 2009

US boosts Hawaii defense to counter NKorea threat

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States has deployed anti-missile defenses around Hawaii amid reports that North Korea may fire its most advanced ballistic missile toward the U.S. islands early next month, adding to already high tensions in the region.

A report in a Japanese newspaper said Pyongyang might test-fire its Taepodong-2 toward Hawaii around the U.S. holiday of Independence Day. North Korea test-fired a similar long-range missile on July 4 three years ago, but it failed seconds after liftoff.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the additional defenses around Hawaii consist of a ground-based mobile missile system and a radar system nearby. Together they could shoot an incoming missile in mid air.

"Without telegraphing what we will do, I would just say ... we are in a good position, should it become necessary, to protect Americans and American territory," Gates told reporters in Washington on Thursday.

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