WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday the United States could defend itself against a missile should the North Koreans launch one toward Hawaii.
Japanese media reported Thursday that the North Koreans are preparing to make such a launch.
Gates said U.S. officials are watching the situation carefully.
"We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile" toward Hawaii, he told reporters.
But with missile interceptors and radar equipment in the region, "we are in a good position should it become necessary to protect the American territory," Gates said.