North Korean Missile Threat

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Hawaii is one of the places that experts say a North Korean missile could reach. With the strong U.S. military presence in the islands, there are concerns that the state might be a target.

North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, have been vocal about the extent to which the country is expanding its nuclear missile capabilities, a situation that has escalated tensions between North Korea and the United States as well as other U.S. allies.

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Background

In 2016 and 2017, North Korea embarked on a series of missile tests. Those tests were downplayed by U.S. military strategists until July 2017 when officials concluded that North Korea had indeed successfully developed the capability to launch a missile that could reach Hawaii, Alaska and possibly the continental U.S. It was not clear whether North Korea had developed the capability of arming a missile with a nuclear weapon.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed stringent economic sanctions on North Korea.

In August 2017, as rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un ramped up, North Korea threatened to fire a missile at Guam after Trump declared any aggression by North Korea would be met with “fire and fury.”

Although many experts believed the risk of an imminent on Hawaii was slim, the verbal threats by North Korea became more alarming.

Hawaii is home to the Pacific Command and would likely serve as an important staging area for American forces in the Pacific in the event of greater hostilities breaking out. Hawaii has played that role in every major conflict since the island nation was annexed by the United States in 1898.

Hawaii’s civil defense agency issued guidelines to residents that included: listen for warning sirens, stay away from windows and remain sheltered until they are told it is safe to exit or for 14 days, “whichever comes first,” according to the directive.

North Korean Missile Threat
North Korea Nuclear Threat: Viral Headlines Aren’t Scaring Hawaii Visitors Away Cory Lum/Civil Beat

North Korea Nuclear Threat: Viral Headlines Aren’t Scaring Hawaii Visitors Away

But a defense industry lobbyist wonders if Hawaii is waiting too long to raise the alarm.

Nuclear Blast Preparations: Inside Legislators’ Secret Meeting Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Nuclear Blast Preparations: Inside Legislators’ Secret Meeting

Lawmakers and their staffs got briefed Tuesday on a possible North Korea attack, but the public wasn’t invited.

China Is The Key To Avoiding Nuclear ‘Fire and Fury’ in North Korea Wikimedia

China Is The Key To Avoiding Nuclear ‘Fire and Fury’ in North Korea

Any nonmilitary solution to the looming crisis will require China applying its enormous economic leverage over North Korea.

Hot Talk Between Trump, North Korea Could Put Hawaii On The Front Line Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Hot Talk Between Trump, North Korea Could Put Hawaii On The Front Line

How might growing tensions affect Hawaii? In addition to risks of missile attacks, local military bases would likely serve as staging areas in a conflict.

Guam Officials Urge Calm After North Korea Threatens Attack AP

Guam Officials Urge Calm After North Korea Threatens Attack

The North Korea Army said Wednesday it’s studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” around Guam with medium- to long-range missiles.

Hawaii Prepares For ‘Unlikely’ North Korea Missile Threat AP

Hawaii Prepares For ‘Unlikely’ North Korea Missile Threat

State Emergency Management Agency announces a public education campaign and plans monthly tests of “attack-warning” siren.

What Makes North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Tick? Flickr.com

What Makes North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Tick?

To best respond to the diplomatic crisis over nukes, American leaders must first understand how they look to North Korea.

Ian Lind: Installing A Missile Defense System Is A Bad Idea U.S. Missile Defense Agency/Flickr

Ian Lind: Installing A Missile Defense System Is A Bad Idea

Pushing ahead with a missile defense system in Hawaii wouldn’t make us any safer, and could signal to North Korea and others that we aren’t interested in diffusing tensions.

Attack By North Korea Unlikely, Hanabusa Tells Town Hall Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Attack By North Korea Unlikely, Hanabusa Tells Town Hall

At another in a series of town halls held by congressional delegates visiting Hawaii, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa disputed Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s account of risk to Hawaii from North Korea.

Gabbard Focuses On North Korea Amid Questions About Syria Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Gabbard Focuses On North Korea Amid Questions About Syria

At her most contentious of three town hall meetings so far, the congresswoman tells her Kailua audience that Hawaii is in the “crosshairs.”

Congress: How Vulnerable Is Hawaii To Missile Attack? PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Congress: How Vulnerable Is Hawaii To Missile Attack?

One possibility is converting a test facility on Kauai into an “operational” intercept site in the face of a growing threat from North Korea.

Takai Warns Of North Korea Threat Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Takai Warns Of North Korea Threat

The congressman wants to make sure the islands are protected by radar from incoming ballistic missiles.