U.S. to Beef Up Pacific Missile Defense System

3:21 PM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration has decided to add 14 interceptors on the West Coast to the U.S.-based missile defense system.

Defense officials confirm the move, saying it's in response to recent threats from North Korea to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons. U.S. officials believe North Korea is incapable of carrying out an attack, but the threat adds to tension between the two countries.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to announce the decision later Friday. It was first reported by Fox News.

The officials confirmed the decision on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Adding the interceptors to the 30 already in place in California and Alaska will beef up the ability to shoot down missiles in flight. The defense system has existed since 2004.

On Monday, North Korea declared the 1953 Korean War armistice nullified. Pyongyang's announcement comes as the United States and South Korea are in the midst of two months of joint military drills, which started on March 1. 

It also follows the UN security council's imposition of additional sanctions against Pyongyang for carrying out a third atomic bomb test, and threats by Pyongyang to fire nuclear weapons at the US and South Korea in response.

AP/NBC News

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