WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States has positioned more missile defenses aroundHawaii as a precaution against a possible North Korean launchacross the Pacific, Defense Secretary Robert Gates saidThursday.
"We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile tothe west in the direction of Hawaii," Gates said.
Gates told reporters at the Pentagon he has sent the military'sground-based mobile missile system to Hawaii, and positioned aradar system nearby. Together the systems theoretically coulddetect and shoot down a North Korean missile if it came tothat.
"Without telegraphing what we will do, I would just say ... weare in a good position, should it become necessary, to protectAmericans and American territory," Gates said.
A Japanese newspaper reported Thursday that North Korea mightfire its most advanced ballistic missile toward Hawaii around theFourth of July holiday.
A new missile launch -- though not expected to reach U.S.territory -- would be a brazen slap in the face of theinternational community, which punished North Korea with new U.N.sanctions for conducting a second nuclear test on May 25 indefiance of a U.N. ban.
North Korea spurned the U.N. Security Council resolution withthreats of war and pledges to expand its nuclear bomb-makingprogram.
The missile now being readied in the North is believed to be aTaepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers),and would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on thenorthwestern coast sometime around July 4, Independence Day inU.S., the Yomiuri newspaper said.
It cited an analysis by Japan's Defense Ministry andintelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Gov. Bob McDonnell is proposing increased mental health funding and the creation of a task force to look at ways to head off mental health crises.
Each Hampton fire station got a new pet oxygen mask, courtesy of Invisible Fence Brand of Hampton Roads.
A Newport News man is wanted in connection to a shooting in Hampton over the weekend.