The Pentagon said on Wednesday it was sending an advanced ballistic missile defense system to Guam in the coming weeks, as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel cited a "real and clear" danger from North Korea.
North Korea has singled out U.S. military bases in Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, and Hawaii among its potential targets in threats in recent weeks that have put the Korean peninsula on edge and triggered a change in the U.S. defense posture and missile defense planning.
"Some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks, present a real and clear danger," Hagel told an audience at the National Defense University in Washington.
He said those actions had threatened the interests of South Korea and Japan, but he also cited their direct threats against Guam, Hawaii and West Coast of the United States.
Shortly after Hagel spoke, the Pentagon said it was deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), which includes a truck-mounted launcher, interceptor missiles, an AN/TPY-2 tracking radar and an integrated fire control system.
"The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and stands ready to defend U.S. territory, our allies, and our national interests," a Pentagon spokeswoman said.