US to bolster defences to counter North Korea

US defence secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans on Friday to bolster US missile defences in response to “irresponsible and reckless provocations” by North Korea, which threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States last week.

Hagel said the Pentagon would add 14 new anti-missile interceptors at Fort Greely in Alaska — an effective reversal of an early Obama administration decision — and move ahead with the deployment of a second missile-defence radar in Japan.

The Pentagon also left open the possibility of creating a site on the US east coast for more interceptors capable of striking down an incoming missile. The 14 additional interceptor deployments would cost nearly $1 billion and must be approved by Congress.

“By taking the steps I outlined today we will strengthen our homeland defence, maintain our commitments to our allies and partners, and make clear to the world that the United States stands firm against aggression,” Hagel said.

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