WASHINGTON, March 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday announced that he has ordered the military to beef up the missile defense system by deploying 14 additional ground- based interceptors.
At a Pentagon press briefing, Hagel said that the newly- deployed interceptors will add to the 30 ground-based interceptors already in place at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California and Fort Greely, Alaska by fiscal year 2017.
Hagel said the move was aimed to counter the threat from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), claiming that Pyongyang has "recently made advances in its (missile) capabilities and is engaged in a series of irresponsible and reckless provocations."
The new interceptors would be deployed to Alaska, and could cover the entire United States, according to James Miller, undersecretary of defense for policy. The Pentagon would also deploy a second radar tracking station to Japan, where it already has one tracking radar.
"We will strengthen our homeland defense, maintain our commitment to our allies and partners, and make clear to the world that the United States stands firm against aggression," said Hagel.
Miller said that the total cost will be a little bit less than one billion dollars.
Tensions have been running high on the Korean Peninsula since the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12 as a countermeasure against the joint military drills of the United States and the Republic of Korea. The DPRK also threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike for self-defense, and unilaterally nullified the 1953 armistice that suspended the Korean War.
Animals enjoy sunshine in Hannover zoo, Germany
Mass marriage ceremony held in Karachi,Pakistan
Late winter snowstorm hits New York
Flood continues hitting Indonesia's Jakarta
Thousands march with coffin to pay tribute to Chavez
83rd Geneva Int'l Motor Show opens