April 4, 2013 – North Korea Seals Border: The United States announced Wednesday that it was speeding the deployment of an advanced missile defense system to Guam in the next few weeks, two years ahead of schedule in what the Pentagon said was “a precautionary move” to protect American naval and air forces from the threat of a North Korean missile attack. Pictured above, South Korean soldiers with tanks prepared for a drill on Wednesday at the Mugeon-ri drill field near Paju, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
The system — called Thaad, for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense — was scheduled for deployment around 2015.
The decision to deploy it now was the latest in a series of steps intended to deter the North from either military action or new missile tests and came only hours after the latest North Korean provocation, with officials blocking South Koreans from crossing the border to enter a jointly operated industrial park.
The North had threatened the move in reaction to taunts from the South Korean news media that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, had cut hot lines and other communications across the border, but did not want to risk one of his most precious sources of hard currency. The border has been sealed before, but the move against the operations at the industrial park that employs roughly 53,000 North Koreans raised doubt about the future of the last remaining major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.
In recent weeks, the North has repeatedly threatened that, if provoked, it could target United States forces in Guam and Hawaii as well as the mainland United States — a threat it repeated Thursday.
Earlier this week, the Defense Department announced that two of the Navy’s Aegis-class missile defense warships were positioned in the Pacific to watch North Korea. Installing the land-based missile system in Guam will free up the ships, which have radar and interceptor missiles, to be repositioned closer to the North Korean coast.
That would give President Obama a wider range of options if the North Koreans fire their missiles in a test or at a target. Click the link below for the complete story.
The Master of Disaster