US missile defense shield to counter NKorea threat

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is deploying a ballistic missile defense system to Guam to strengthen the Asia-Pacific region's protections against a possible North Korean attack.

Word of the shield's delivery came Wednesday as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called North Korea's latest belligerent rhetoric a real and clear danger and threat to the U.S. and its allies.

Deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System is the latest step the U.S. has taken to bolster forces in a show of force aimed at countering the North Korean threat.

The Pentagon already has sent bombers, stealth fighters and ships to the area.

Tensions have escalated between North and South Korea in recent weeks. The North has vowed to increase production of nuclear weapons materials and threatened a pre-emptive strike against the U.S.

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