US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Washington is planning to deploy 14 more interceptors in Alaska to strengthen its defenses against a possible missile strike by North Korea.
“The United States has missile defense systems in place to protect us from limited ICBM attacks. But North Korea in particular has recently made advances in its capabilities and is engaged in a series of irresponsible and reckless provocations,” AFP quoted Hagel as saying on Friday.
The United States has already deployed 30 interceptors along the California and Alaska coastline.
“One of the reasons, again, we are doing what we're doing based on the intelligence we have is to assure that whatever their timelines are, that we're not reacting to those timelines, that we're ahead of any timelines of any potential threat,” Hagel said.
On March 7, Pyongyang threatened to launch “preemptive” nuclear strikes on the United States.
On March 12, North Korea threatened to “wipe out” an island in the South as tension on the Korean Peninsula has risen to its highest level for years.
“Once an order is issued, you should break the waists of the crazy enemies, totally cut their windpipes and thus clearly show them what a real war is like,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said.
The comments came on the same day that South Korea and the US launched a weeklong military drill that has prompted Pyongyang to abandon the 60-year-old Korean War armistice, along with non-aggression pacts signed with the South.
North Korea condemned the maneuvers as a launch pad for a 'nuclear war,' saying it is scrapping the 1953 Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War.
A week earlier, North Korea's leader told the country's armed forces to prepare for an 'all-out war.'