Hawaii reacts to DPRK missile launch with preparations for the worst

World Today

This Aug. 29, 2017 photo provided by the Department of Defense shows a medium-range ballistic missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The U.S. military has shot down a medium range ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii. The Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai Island launched the target missile late Tuesday, Aug. 29. Sailors aboard the destroyer USS John Paul Jones tracked the target with radar and then fired an interceptor missile to shoot it down. The test comes amid ongoing North Korean ballistic missile tests. Earlier Tuesday (Latonja Martin/Department of Defense via AP)

“A key milestone,” is how Pentagon officials are describing a U.S. missile defense test. The U.S. military shot down a medium-range ballistic missile with an interceptor missile off the coast of Hawaii early Wednesday.

It came a day after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea launched a missile over Japan.

CGTN’s Patrice Howard reports.
Follow Patrice Howard on Twitter @PatriceReports

Hours after the U.S. military conducted a successful missile defense test off the coast of Hawaii, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to say “talking is not the answer” when it comes to trying to resolve differences with the DPRK.

Hawaii’s governor said diplomacy by Twitter doesn’t serve any constructive purpose to reducing tensions with the DPRK.

“The escalating rhetoric only makes the situation worse,” David Ige, Governor of Hawaii said. “It’s clear even China disagrees with the path North Korea has taken, and the best long term solution is for the nations around the world to make clear to North Korea that their actions clearly are outside of what the rest of the world believes is appropriate.”

Ige said the Hawaiian Islands, home to the U.S. Pacific command and a key military base, are more likely to get hit with a hurricane than a nuclear missile, given Pyongyang’s current capabilities. But the state is preparing for a worst case scenario either way.

“Even though our threat assessment is very low, we believe that being prepared is the smart thing to do,” Ige said.

It is in an underground bunker in the center of Diamond Head – a now extinct volcanic crater – that emergency officials are monitoring the DPRK’s every launch. If Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile due west, it would take fewer than 20 minutes to reach the Hawaiian Islands.

Emergency officials are still encouraging people to prepare.

“It’s not like the Cold War, we are not talking about 20 million ton weapons,” said Vern Miyagi, administrator of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. “If it happens, we will have survivors and our job is to make sure we protect those survivors.”

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is rolling out a public awareness campaign to educate the islands’ nearly 1.3 million residents about what to do in the unlikely event of a nuclear strike.

Officials say preparing is the key to staying alive in this now peaceful Pacific island state.