The Pentagon confirmed on Wednesday that an advanced ballistic missile defense system was being sent to Guam, as a precautionary move in response to North Korea's threats.
The Defense Department will deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD), which includes a truck-mounted launcher, interceptor missiles, and a tracking radar, to Guam, according to Reuters.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said North Korea's threats presented a "real and clear danger" to the United States, along with its allies in the region, South Korea and Japan.
"They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now," said Hagel on Wednesday, according to Agence France-Presse, calling the North's "bellicose dangerous rhetoric" problematic.
"We take those threats seriously, we have to take those threats seriously," he added. "We are doing everything we can, working with the Chinese and others to defuse that situation on the peninsula."
More from GlobalPost: North Korea bars entrance to Kaesong industrial park
The $800-million-per-battery THAAD system would protect against short- and medium-range missiles coming from North Korea. Defense officials say each missile shot costs around $1 million.
"The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and stands ready to defend US territory, our allies, and our national interests," said a Pentagon spokeswoman.
The latest developments came as the North barred South Korean workers from entering the joint Kaesong industrial park.
The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior US administration official saying that the THAAD system would not be able to protect South Korea. Its deployment is aimed at protecting American interests in the area, especially Guam, which is one of the most important American military bases in Asia.
Watch Hagel's statement, via The Daily Telegraph: