Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US to Ramp Up Its Anti-Missile Defenses Following North Korean Threats

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US to Ramp Up Its Anti-Missile Defenses Following North Korean Threats

Article excerpt

In the wake of North Korean missile and nuclear tests and what seems like increasingly belligerent pronouncements from Pyongyang, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday that the US is beefing up its missile defense system.

That system, 30 anti-missile missiles based in Alaska (26) and California (4), is to be increased to 44 defense missiles in the coming years.

We will strengthen homeland missile defense by deploying 14 additional ground-based interceptors, GBIs, at Fort Greely, Alaska, Secretary Hagel said. These additional GBIs will provide a nearly 50 percent increase in our missile defense capability.

In addition to the US-based defense missiles, the US Navy has ballistic missile defense ships cruising off the Korean Peninsula. The US has Patriot missile defense batteries in South Korea, and Japan is developing missile defense systems as well. How likely is it that North Korean missiles could reach US targets?

We are confident we could defeat a threat from North Korea today, Air Force General Robert Kehler, chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week. But, he added, Their activities have our attention, and it has our concern.

Or as President Obama told ABC News the other day, "They probably can't [hit the United States], but we don't like the margin of error.

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Other US officials have spoken recently of the threat posed by a country whose leader Kim Jong-un is young and newly-installed, and where there is stiff resistance to United Nations sanctions against its recently tested nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

In a letter to the UN Security Council released Friday, North Korea called the most recent sanctions a crime and clear proof that the 15-nation UN body was abused into implementing the hostile policy of the United States. …

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