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April 11, 2013 | By Ken Dilanian, David S. Cloud and Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - A U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that North Korea has the capability to develop nuclear warheads small enough to fit on a ballistic missile, a congressman disclosed Thursday. Although U.S. experts believe North Korea cannot hit the U.S. mainland with its missiles, a significant improvement in Pyongyang's weapons technology would be deeply disconcerting for U.S. policymakers. It would also help explain American measures - including an emphasis on the U.S. ability to respond with nuclear weapons - after weeks of warlike rhetoric from Pyongyang.
April 9, 2013 | By Emily Alpert
Japan readied its missile defense systems Tuesday against a possible North Korean weapons test, saying it would shoot down any missiles or debris if Japanese territory was threatened. Patriot anti-missile batteries were deployed on the grounds of the Defense Ministry in Tokyo and at military installations in and around the capital, according to Japanese news reports. The PAC-3 batteries will also be based on the island of Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. troops in Japan, sooner than planned in response to North Korea's threats, the Asahi Shimbun reported . Deploying the anti-missile system in Tokyo is “part of our moves to establish a system to protect the lives of our citizens and ensure their safety,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference, according to Jiji Press . Suga earlier said that the missiles will be used solely to protect Japan, according to the Japan Times . Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed for Japan to reinterpret its constitution, which bans waging war, to allow Japan to intercept missiles fired at United States targets.
April 9, 2013 | By Paul Richter and Jung-yoon Choi, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific reassured Congress on Tuesday that the U.S. military could intercept any missile launched by North Korea and aimed at America's territory or its East Asian allies. Adm. Samuel Locklear's briefing to senators came amid growing concern that North Korea is about to test a missile - some observers suggest as early as Wednesday - after weeks of bellicose threats. "We have a credible ability to defend the homeland, to defend Hawaii, to defend Guam, to defend our forward deployed forces and to defend our allies," Locklear told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
April 9, 2013 | By David S. Cloud and Jung-yoon Choi
WASHINGTON -- Responding to concerns that North Korea is preparing to test a medium-range missile after weeks of bellicose threats, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific sought to reassure Congress on Tuesday that the Pentagon would be able intercept a missile aimed at the United States or its East Asian allies. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear said Pentagon agencies would quickly recognize if a missile's trajectory was headed into the open ocean, and that U.S. anti-missile batteries on ships and land would knock it out of the sky if it was deemed a threat.
April 3, 2013 | By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said Wednesday that it was sending a mobile missile defense system to Guam as a "precautionary move," as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said North Korea posed a "real and clear danger" to the U.S. military base on the western Pacific island, as well as to allies and other U.S. territory. North Korea has named Guam and Hawaii as potential targets in bellicose statements in recent weeks, which have increased tension on the Korean peninsula and prompted a series of U.S. military moves aimed at beefing up the American presence in the region and reassuring allies that the United States will come to their aid in the event of an attack.
April 2, 2013
Re "What would Reagan do?," Opinion, March 28 Graham Allison asserts that after spending $150 billion over 30 years on missile defense, the objection that destroying a missile with another missile is impossible has been largely overcome. But later, he writes, "In reality, current U.S. missile defense systems are capable only of defending against a limited number of primitive ballistic missiles. " Do intelligent people really believe that missile defense system development can stay ahead of offensive threat development?
April 1, 2013 | By David S. Cloud and Jung-yoon Choi, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Navy is moving a sea-based radar platform closer to North Korea to track possible missile launches, a Pentagon official said Monday, in the latest step meant to deter the North and reassure South Korea and Japan that the U.S. is committed to their defense. The sea-based X-band radar, a self-propelled system resembling an oil rig, is heading toward the Korean peninsula from Pearl Harbor, the official said. The John S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer capable of shooting down ballistic missiles, also is being sent to the region, said another Defense Department official.
March 29, 2013 | By Raja Abdulrahim and Lava Selo
BEIRUT -- At least 20 people were killed Friday by a blast in a northern Syrian town, according to opposition activists who said the attack was carried out using a Scud missile. The missile landed in a populated neighborhood of Hretaan, injuring 50 people and destroying more than 30 homes, the activists said. Videos  reportedly recorded afterward showed residents pulling out dozens of bodies from the rubble of flattened buildings. There was no immediate response from Syrian officials to the charge, which could not be independently verified because of restrictions the government places on outside media.
March 28, 2013 | By Graham Allison
President Reagan stunned fellow citizens and the world 30 years ago this month with a dramatic announcement that the United States would develop and deploy a system capable of intercepting and destroying strategic ballistic missiles. Like President Kennedy's pledge to send a man to the moon, Reagan's vision was meant to stretch minds to new realities that most found inconceivable. As the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI, developed, this vision encompassed three big ideas. First, technological advances would make it possible to "hit a bullet with a bullet.
March 26, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- A major Syrian opposition coalition took a seat as the legitimate government of Syria at an Arab League summit Tuesday, and the group's outgoing leader promptly pushed for the United States to use Patriot missile-defense batteries against Syrian warplanes. Moaz Khatib, who resigned from the opposition coalition on Sunday amid reports of deep divisions in its ranks, said he put the Patriot missile request to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting last month in Rome.
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