Pentagon boosts Guam defense amid North Korean threats - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Pentagon boosts Guam defense amid North Korean threats

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WASHINGTON, DC -

The Pentagon confirms an anti-missile system is being sent to the American base on Guam, south of the Korean peninsula where tensions today rose another notch. North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, closed a major industrial park that symbolized cooperation with South Korea.

This new move to shield Guam comes as US officials try to figure out if Kim Jong Un is really risking war or just seeking attention.

Barriers went up at the Kaesong Industrial Park near Korea's DMZ. Busses full of workers got sent away and more than 100 factories there could not operate.

The latest move by North Korea looks drastic because it hurts north Koreans who depend on jobs here.

Some 50,000 work at Kaesong. It's cheap labor for south Korean companies and one of the few ways the north and south cooperated.

"These economic zones were kind of a sinew that kept people talking and kept people moving," said Ellen Tauscher, former under-secretary of state - International Security.

Now that connective tissue's being snapped by Kim Jong Un, a new line crossed by North Korea's erratic young leader who vowed Tuesday to reopen a nuclear weapons reactor and threatened last week to attack US cities.

The Pentagon confirms that a Thaad (Terminal high-altitude aerial defense) system is being sent to the US base on Guam to intercept any incoming North Korean missile.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's gave this assessment Wednesday: "A real and clear danger and threat to the interests - certainly - of our allies starting with South Korea."

US and South Korean forces are showing off their firepower. One worry is the rising tensions could spark an incident that could escalate.

"If North Korea goes beyond the rhetoric and begins to actually take literal shots at South Korea and there's an exchange of fire then you have uncharted territory here," said PJ Crowley, former State Dept. spokesman.

That's one of the commander in chief's main worries as the Korean crisis escalates. Taking precautions but not making concessions is the Obama plan. 

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