June 19th, 2009
03:44 PM ET

Gates: U.S. ready for North Korea missile

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/06/19/us.nkorea/art.kang.nam.afp.gi.jpg caption="This North Korean ship is known for having carried 'proliferation materials,' a senior U.S. official says."]


Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the United States could defend itself should North Korea launch a missile toward Hawaii and that U.S. officials are carefully monitoring the reclusive nation's military.

North Korea is preparing to launch a missile over Pacific Ocean waters, Japanese media reported Thursday.

With missile interceptors and radar equipment deployed in and near Hawaii, "we are in a good position should it become necessary to protect American territory," Gates said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is tracking a North Korean ship in the Pacific that is believed to be carrying illicit weapons or technology, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

While the United States does not know what is on the ship, the Kang Nam is a "repeat offender," known for having carried "proliferation materials," one senior defense official said.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Military • North Korea
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    United Nations? Just another joke! So they agree to pass a resolution to search N. Korean ships, but don't have enough guts to put some strong ultimatums in it, so we waste our time and more $$$.
    N. Korea is free to make threats & launch missiles and everyone looks to the U. S. to do something. Why is it always us? Lets get some other countries to take some action.

    June 21, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  2. eaglef181686

    I think the president is handling of the north is great, and Maccain is stuck on the those yesteryears.
    He needs more then help, he needs friends from the bingo people!!!!!!!!

    June 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  3. ann

    Obama needs to think about keeping us safe. Hello

    June 20, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  4. Als

    I think South Korea need to do something instead of waiting to see what we are going to do. South Korea is right beside these nuts and if the missle falls short on us it is going to hit them. It is in South Koreas best interest to stop the Leader of North Korea from doing the region they both share harm.

    June 20, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  5. Shane

    Additional Comment:

    Speak to Japan.

    I have two more words.



    June 20, 2009 at 5:32 am |
  6. Sabrina In Las Vegas

    That is a bit dangerous because Hawaii is in its peak tourism time and doesn't need this added to its economic situation....not to mention it would ruin a honeymoon or start another world war.

    I hope that the interception technology we have is able to stop any attach they should try to send our way.

    Erica did good tonight even though we like to see Anderson as well.

    June 20, 2009 at 3:53 am |
  7. Randy Lee Tange

    P.S. – meant to say Chinese or Russian destroyer above.

    June 20, 2009 at 2:38 am |
  8. Randy Lee Tange

    Here's a question for America. If China and Russia signed onto the sanctions against N Korea then why is our warship not being assisted by a Chinese destroyed? Doesn't it make sense? And if they dump their cargo in China and we are not allowed press coverage or CIA involvement of state dept involving then what kind of friend is China. Is China our friend or our enemy. I think this is the time for them to show unilateral condemnation of N. Korea or be kicked out of the U.N.


    Randy Tange from the great state of CO.

    June 20, 2009 at 2:37 am |
  9. Gwen

    Please note: The Korean people are starving while their twisted leadership is building nuclear weapons. Witness their military...skin and bones. Have no use for the leadership but care about the ordinary people and children.

    June 20, 2009 at 12:31 am |
  10. George Sands

    jong Il is just postureing. He is trying to goad the usa into giving him some special treatment. the north koreans are scared to death of the madman. they know he is dangerous to them. they are scared of his militia, like the Germans were of Hitler. It is a shame to see the North Koreans stimyed by this little tyrant.

    June 19, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  11. John

    If N.Korea launches a missile, we can't afford to not shoot it down. We should tell them that if they launch a missile we will consider it an act of war. We also have to consider that N.Korea knows that we have missile defense systems and that we are fully capable of shooting the missile down if we sense the slightest threat. I agree with Annie, it seems like their making up excuses to get us into a war.

    June 19, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    Is North Korea trying to goad us into a war? It almost seems that way. Their leader has already said that if we shoot one of their missiles down (even if it is going to land on american soil) that they will regard it as an act of war. So if that is the case and we do have to shoot it down, what happens to the two female reporters North Korea has in prison right now and what do we do about any war declared on us, especially seeing how our troops are in the Middle East right now. I hope our state department can steer us around all the shoals in the water on this country.

    June 19, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  13. Art

    Mr. Gates is ready for them? The hand is quicker than the eye.

    June 19, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  14. John

    Good Chance?

    Hawaii are you ready for a real 4th of July like never before seen since December 7, 1941?

    This is no joking matter. We got North Korea threatening us? What the hell?

    June 19, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  15. Robert Truax

    I think that regardless wether they fire or not we should of acted when North Korea started testing long range and Neuclear missles a long time ago. We knew it was going to happen but i guess to get attention you have to put thousands of lifes on the line. Just like 911 they knew it was going to happen but they never acted on it (im not saying that im unpatriototic) but come on how many people have to die before we come crashing back into reality?

    June 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  16. Eugenia - San Francisco, Ca

    This didn't seem like it normally does when there is tensions with North Korea. I feel something is going to happen this time. Please let me be wrong.

    June 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  17. Bernie Pierre

    Did N. Korea sign the June 12 resolution, and if they didn't, are they subject to the rules contain therein? Would love to know.
    is this test confirmed, and if so, does the fact that it's a test mean that there will be an actual attack on some territory?
    Apart from defense systems being fortified/implemented, does the US government have an offensive plan as well. I could view the vessel searching as an offensive measure, but what else is there in the plan.
    Is there any intelligence on N. Korea's ultimate goal. Why are they testing these missiles, and with such frequency?
    There must be some reason. I for one would be happy to know that US intelligence has more intelligence than what's presented by the media (who's been doing a great job covering this)

    June 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  18. Rene

    We need to just go in there and show them (n. Korea) who's boss. Enough coddling.

    June 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  19. 1 Dove


    You are doing a great job (as usual) with this story. I believe that our country will do what it has to.

    June 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  20. earle,florida

    Here we go again? The world's police state (the Bush Administration, totally ignored all the warning signs,and passes the buck to Obama) is off to another war we can't afford. Gate's (war monger from poppy 's CIA days) in my opinion is a leftover Bush appointee that belongs back at Texas A&M with the rest of the Longhorn Cowboys!

    June 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  21. Travis

    I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't some ploy from the Soviet Union to start an World War to get their position to a worldly leader status.

    June 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm |