FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said he didn’t think North Korea would be able to strike the state with a nuclear warhead until 2020. But spiraling rumours about the country’s missile capabilities and its leader Kim Jung Un’s recent comments — coupled with President Donald Trump’s statements — have led to him saying the state needs to expand its military presence.
Walker said earlier this week to Politico he was concerned about North Korea’s threats to the U.S. and the Asian nation’s claims that its missiles can hit Alaska, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/2wSzwFz ). But “no one’s hiding under the desk,” he said.
“It’s actually, in some respects, gotten here sooner than we thought,” Walker said. “So we’re earlier than anticipated, and we want to make sure that we’re well protected and everything.”
The state has a Long Range Discrimination Radar under construction, which will give missile defenders a better look at what is happening over the Pacific Ocean, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said.
“We’ve been diligent to build the quality of our Missile Defence System,” Murkowski said. “We must continue to be vigilant — now more than ever in light of the heightened threat.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan said he, too, is concerned that Alaska is within North Korea’s missile range.
“For months, our senior military leaders have been warning that North Korea is on the cusp of developing a nuclear-ICBM that could hit U.S. cities,” Sullivan said in a statement. “According to a Defence Intelligence Agency report, that day is coming faster than anyone had predicted.”
Despite the threats, Murkowski said she is proud of Alaska’s capabilities and readiness to defend. “I support efforts by the administration, our allies and other nations in the region to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions,” she said.