By YOCHI J. DREAZEN
U.S. Fortifies Hawaii to Meet
Threat From Korea
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. is moving ground-to-air missile defenses to Hawaii as tensions
escalate between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea's recent moves to restart
its nuclear-weapon program and resume test-firing long-range missiles.
In anticipation of a North Korean missile test, the U.S. is positioning off Hawaii a floating
radar, like this one shown in a 2005 Boeing photo.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday that the U.S. is concerned that
Pyongyang might soon fire a missile toward Hawaii. Some senior U.S. officials expect a
North Korean test by midsummer, even though most don't believe the missile would be
capable of crossing the Pacific and reaching Hawaii.
Mr. Gates told reporters that the U.S. is positioning a sophisticated floating radar array in
the ocean around Hawaii to track an incoming missile. The U.S. is also deploying missile-
defense weapons to Hawaii that would theoretically be capable of shooting down a North
Korean missile, should such an order be given, he said.
"We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile...in the direction of Hawaii,"
Mr. Gates said. "We are in a good position, should it become necessary, to protect
In another sign of America's mounting concern about North Korea, a senior defense
official said the U.S. is tracking a North Korean vessel, the Kang Nam, suspected of
carrying weapons banned by a recent United Nations resolution.
The U.S. moves come as strains intensify between the U.S. and North Korea. Earlier this
year, Pyongyang test-fired a missile that flew over Japan before crashing into the Pacific
Ocean. On May 25, Pyongyang detonated a nuclear device at a test site near its border
with China, drawing rare rebukes from Moscow and Beijing.
President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met earlier this
week at the White House and agreed to launch a new effort to persuade North Korea to
give up its nuclear arsenal. I