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Hawaii fortified over N. Korean threat

The THAAD battery will typically operate nine launch vehicles each carrying eight missiles, with two mobile tactical operations centers (TOCs) and a ground-based radar (GBR).
The THAAD battery will typically operate nine launch vehicles each carrying eight missiles, with two mobile tactical operations centers (TOCs) and a ground-based radar (GBR).

WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- Hawaii has been placed under heightened missile and other defense fortification to deter any North Korean attacks, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.

Gates told a Pentagon news conference Thursday the deployment includes mobile and ground-based interceptors, The New York Times reported. Additionally, seaborne radar in the waters off the island will seek information to track and attack any North Korean missile.

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In addition to Gates' announcement, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned the military would "vigorously enforce" the latest United Nations Security Council resolution in response to North Korea's May 25 underground nuclear test, the report said.

The resolution pertains to actions to be taken against North Korean ships suspected of carrying illegal weapons and nuclear technology or materials.

"We're obviously watching the situation in the North with respect to missile launches very closely," Gates said.

He said the military was concerned about North Korea's ability to launch a missile "in the direction of Hawaii."

"I've directed the deployment again of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missiles to Hawaii and the SBX (Sea Based X-Band) radar has deployed away from Hawaii to provide support," Gates said. "Without telegraphing what we will do, I would just say I think we are in a good position, should it become necessary, to protect American territory."

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Japan's Kyodo news agency reported North Korea has threatened to conduct further missile tests in retaliation for the U.N. Security Council resolution imposing more sanctions on it.

The developments come amid reports the U.S. military is tracking a North Korean-flagged ship in the Pacific Ocean. The vessel is suspected of carrying banned carrying cargo banned under the U.N. resolution.

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