The United States has deployed missile defense weapons around Hawaii in a precaution to a possible missile launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), said Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday.
The United States and South Korea claim that the DPRK has moved a long-range ballistic missile, which could be a version of the Taepodong-2, to a west coast launch site in preparation for a possible test launch within days.
"We're obviously watching the situation in the North with respect to missile launches very closely. We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile to the west in the direction of Hawaii," Gates told reporters at the Pentagon daily press briefing.
The secretary said he had approved the deployment of THAAD missile defense weaponry and he SBX radar system around Hawaii, adding "I think we are in a good position should it become necessary to protect American territory."
Both THAAD and SBX are parts of U.S. ballistic missile defense system. The THAAD was designed to hit Scuds and similar missiles.