US to boost defence against rising North Korean threat
Washington - The United States will deploy 14 additional ground-based defence missiles in Alaska against the growing nuclear threat from North Korea, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said Friday.The new missiles will represent a near 50-per-cent increase over the current 30 interceptors based mostly in Alaska, and are to be in place by the end of 2017. China was informed of the expansion, Hagel said.
Given funding cutbacks, Hagel indicated that the 1-billion-dollar project was made possible by some shuffling of priorities as the US also weighs the growing nuclear threat from Iran.
"The Korean threat went just a little bit faster than we might have expected," said Admiral James Winnefeld at the news briefing at the Pentagon.
Hagel however reassured that NATO and Europe would also receive bolstered protection from threats out of Iran and the Middle East through a restructuring of missile defence there.
Tensions have been rising on the Korean Peninsula since the North carried out its third nuclear test last month, prompting the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions.//DPA