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Published: Thursday, 6/18/2009

Gates: Missile defense in place for Hawaii in case North Korea fires missile


WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he's positioning defenses near Hawaii just in case North Korea fires a missile across the Pacific toward the island state.

Gates says he's sent the military's ground-based mobile missile system to Hawaii, and positioned a radar system nearby. Together the systems theoretically could detect and shoot down a North Korean missile if it came to that.

Gates says the U.S. is watching the North's moves very closely. He says there is concern about a potential launch toward Hawaii, although he did not spell out how extensive the U.S. thinks the threat might be.

A Japanese newspaper reported Thursday that North Korea might fire its most advanced ballistic missile toward Hawaii around the Fourth of July holiday.

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