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Terrorism & Security

US shores up missile defense in Hawaii in response to N. Korea threat

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.

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Speaking to Honolulu Fox affiliate KHON, Carl Baker of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum said the episode might reflect divisions within North Korea between those who want to engage further with the outside world and those who do not. Honolulu ABC affiliate KITV says news of the possible missile test "is making some people edgy." But speaking to the network, analyst Denny Roy says "long-term issue[s]" within North Korea are a bigger concern than the possibility of a missile strike on Hawaii.

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"The question you have to ask is: Why would they want to do that? It would be basically suicidal … for North Korea to launch a missile, nuclear or conventional," said Denny Roy, of the East-West Center.
Roy said he thinks the latest tensions are tied to the struggle over the succession of Kim Jong Il.
"There is more of a crisis atmosphere than there was a couple of years ago. A couple of years ago we had some hope of the dismantling of the nuclear weapons program now that seems to be off the table," Roy said.

An article in Foreign Policy argues that the world should not rule out North Korea's possible use of nuclear weapons, as the regime "would do anything to survive."

This game of escalation will go on and on until North Korea gets what it desires most from Washington: a reliable security assurance. Of course, no one likes to yield to dictators. But ultimately, playing chicken with a desperate and nuclear-armed North Korea is too risky to endeavor. The more isolated the North Koreans become, the more likely they will be to use the nuclear card in threatening two hostages: South Korea and Japan. Everyone loses that game.

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