The US deployed antimissile defense systems in response to reports that North Korea could launch a long-range missile toward the island early next month.
The US military has deployed antimissile systems to Hawaii to beef up the islands' defenses in response to intelligence reports that North Korea may test-fire long-range ballistic missiles toward the state around the July 4 holiday.
Analysts say North Korea has little to gain from shooting test missiles at the United States, and suggest this latest move could reflect internal political divisions over the country's foreign policy and the eventual succession of its leader, Kim Jong-il. The secretive state heightened its threatening rhetoric after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on the North in response to its nuclear test May 25. North Korea, which has also tested long- and short-range missiles in the past months, has threatened to respond "a thousand-fold" if provoked.
Citing analysis from Japan's Defense Ministry and information from US satellites, the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Thursday that long-range Taepodong-2 missiles were brought to the North's Tongchang-ri launch site on May 30. Japan reportedly believes "it is highly likely [they] will be launched toward Hawaii" between July 4 and July 8, the anniversary of the 1994 death of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, who was Kim Jong-il's father.