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.



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.

False Missile Alert

On Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency inadvertently sent an alert to tens of thousands of Hawaii cellphones that warned of an inbound ballistic missile. The alert caused widespread panic in the islands until the agency was able to issue a second message saying it was a false alarm.

That took 38 minutes and by that time many residents and visitors had run for shelter, some trying to shelter in place in their homes and others seeking refuge in concrete parking structures and commercial  buildings. It turned out an employee hit the wrong button during a routine drill that was intended to be internal only.

Hawaii officials, including Gov. David Ige, were the subject of major criticism. Ige promised a full review and appointed a top military leader to lead an investigation.


North Korean Missile Threat

February 2018

Tuesday, February 20

Report: Hawaii’s Emergency Warning Agency Needs An Overhaul

Tuesday, February 6

Hawaii Emergency Worker Gets Threats After Misleading Photo

Friday, February 2

Hawaii Man Says He’s Devastated About Sending Missile Alert

January 2018

Wednesday, January 31

Hawaii Missile Defense Test Failed To Intercept Target

Tuesday, January 30

Tick Tock Of Terror: New Details In Missile Alert Timeline

Man Who Sent Out False Missile Alert Was ‘Source Of Concern’ For A Decade

Worker Who Sent Alarm Thought Missile Attack Was Real

Senators To Stores: Don’t Kick People Out In Emergencies

Monday, January 29

Reader Rep: Media Focus On ‘False Alarm’ Didn’t Go Deep Enough

Thursday, January 25

Feds: Hawaii Missile Alert Employee Not Cooperating In Probe

This Is What Hawaii’s Missile Defense System Looks Like

Friday, January 19

Governor Knew 2 Minutes After Missile Alert That It Was False

Ian Lind: Make Peace, Not War

Hawaii Teacher: Reminding My Students South Korea Has It Much Worse

Thursday, January 18

What If A Missile Scare Happened On A School Day?

Wednesday, January 17

Tick Tock Of Terror: Timeline Of False Missile Alert

Schatz: Missile-Alert System Is Still Hawaii’s Kuleana

Legislature Convenes Amid Buzz Over False Missile Alert

Missile Scare Motivates Activists Who Fear Military’s Presence

Denby Fawcett: Pity Hawaii’s False Alarm ‘Button Pusher’

Tuesday, January 16

Hawaii Distributed Phony Image Of Missile Warning Screen

FEMA: Hawaii Didn’t Need Approval To Retract Missile Alert

Chad Blair: Is David Ige’s Political Nene Cooked?

Monday, January 15

General Will Review Why Hawaii Sent Out False Nuke Alarm

AP Reporter Recounts Moments After Hawaii Missile Alert

Sunday, January 14

False Alarm Fallout: Worker Reassigned And Trump Weighs In

Saturday, January 13

Tad Bartimus: When There’s A Nuke Headed Your Way, ‘Do What You Gotta Do’

Saturday Morning Panic: Reactions To Hawaii’s False Alarm

False Missile Threat Mistakenly Triggered As Part Of Internal Drill

October 2017

Monday, October 16

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

September 2017

Tuesday, September 19

Nuclear Blast Preparations: Inside Legislators’ Secret Meeting

August 2017

Friday, August 11

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

Wednesday, August 9

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

Tuesday, August 8

Guam Officials Urge Calm After North Korea Threatens Attack

July 2017

Friday, July 21

Hawaii Prepares For ‘Unlikely’ North Korea Missile Threat

May 2017

Monday, May 15

What Makes North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Tick?

Wednesday, May 3

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

April 2017

Saturday, April 22

Attack By North Korea Unlikely, Hanabusa Tells Town Hall

Sunday, April 16

Gabbard Focuses On North Korea Amid Questions About Syria

February 2017

Wednesday, February 22

Congress: How Vulnerable Is Hawaii To Missile Attack?

April 2016

Thursday, April 14

Takai Warns Of North Korea Threat