Hawaii has been gearing up to prepare for a nuclear attack from North Korea, with the island state taking its first serious precautions in decades for a possible missile strike.
Hawaii “just couldn't ignore these constant threats and missile tests from North Korea,” the state’s Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi told The Mercury News. He said Hawaii’s citizens have so far been “welcoming” to a full-blown campaign of warnings about a North Korea attack.
In the past month, Hawaii officials have started airing TV ads warning locals to “get inside, stay inside” if an attack appears to be happening, and also holding meetings across the islands to inform people about the threats from Kim Jong Un’s isolated empire. Hawaii also tested a Cold War-era warning siren for the first time in more than 30 years and has prepared emergency text alert. State officials have been holding weekly meetings with Homeland Security Department and Defense Department officials.
The campaign comes after North Korea has spent the year threatening the United States with a nuclear attack and running tests on missiles that seem ready to strike Hawaii or anywhere in the U.S. mainland. Hawaii, which is about 4,600 miles away from North Korea, would be one of the easiest targets for a long-range missile. Such severe precautions have not been taken by other states, such as California, that are so close to Kim’s crosshairs.
North Korea has not issued a specific threat to Hawaii, though in August Kim said he was ready to bomb Guam, a U.S. territory island that, like Hawaii, is in the Pacific Ocean and is home to substantial military personnel. Kim’s self-imposed deadline for a threat on Guam passed without incident after President Donald Trump threatened a fierce retaliation if provoked.
North Korea did, however, include the capital city Honolulu in a 2013 propaganda poster listing potential targets, according to the Mercury News. Hawaii is also home to Pearl Harbor, the naval base that was bombed by Japan in 1941 in a surprise attack that killed 2,403 people. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. soil until 9/11.
North Korea has tested several missiles this year that defense experts said were capable of hitting Hawaii or, in some cases, traveling far enough to strike the White House. But experts said Kim has yet to prove that he create such a weapon that would be able to carry a nuclear warhead. After North Korea’s latest test in late November, Trump and White House officials have been increasingly ramping up talk of a possible war.
Hawaiian officials noted that the chances of a North Korea attack are not considered strong, and that an earthquake or massive fire are seen as much more likely threats than a nuclear bomb.
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