US prepared for any missile launch toward Hawaii: Gates

June 19th, 2009 - 2:53 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 19 (DPA) The United States is prepared to defend against a possible North Korean missile launch toward the US state of Hawaii, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
“We’re obviously watching the situation in the North with respect to missile launches very closely,” Gates told reporters. “And we do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile to the west in the direction of Hawaii.”

The Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday that North Korea could be readying for a launch of a medium- or long-range Taepodong-2 missile in the direction of Hawaii, as tension with the Stalinist state continues to fester.

Gates said he had deployed a short-and-medium range missile defence system to Hawaii, and that the long-range defence system in Alaska was also prepared to respond to a possible launch.

“Without telegraphing what we will do, I would just say we are in a good position - should it become necessary - to protect the American territory,” Gates said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun cited an analysis by the Japanese defence ministry that had concluded that North Korean preparations for another missile launch could be in the direction of Hawaii, based on the launch sites, potential trajectories and the types of missiles.

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