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U.S. readies for 'real and clear danger' from North Korea

North Korea has threatened the United States with a nuclear attack. In response, Washington has made plans to send a missile defense system to Guam, officials said Wednesday. 

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the Pentagon, last month. The United States announced Wednesday that it plans to set up a missile defense system in Guam as tensions with North Korea continue to escalate.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

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The United States said on Wednesday it would soon send a missile defense system to Guam to defend it from North Korea, as the U.S. military adjusts to what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called a "real and clear danger" from Pyongyang.

At the same time, North Korea repeated its threat to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. Pyongyang said it had ratified a potential strike because of U.S. military deployments around the Korean peninsula that it claimed were a prelude to a possible nuclear attack on the North.

Washington had been informed of the potential attack by North Korea, a spokesman for its army said in a statement carried by the English language service of state news agency KCNA. It was unclear how such a warning was given since North Korea does not have diplomatic ties with Washington.

Experts say North Korea is years away from being able to hit the continental United States with a nuclear weapon, despite having worked for decades to achieve nuclear-arms capability.

North Korea has previously threatened a nuclear strike on the United States and missile attacks on its Pacific bases, including in Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific. Those threats followed new U.N. sanctions imposed on the North after it carried out its third nuclear test in February.

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