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US Navy deploys ships before North Korean launch

Published on Dec 7, 2012 8:06 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States has deployed naval ships equipped with ballistic missile defences and is monitoring North Korea "very closely" ahead of an anticipated rocket launch, the head of US Pacific Command said.

It was "logical" for US naval ships in the region to track North Korea's launch and "to the degree that those those ships are capable of participating in ballistic missile defence, then we'll position them to be able to do that," Admiral Samuel Locklear told reporters here on Thursday.

The US Navy took a similar approach during the last North Korean launch, he added at a Pentagon news conference.

Two guided missile destroyers, the USS Benfold and the USS Fitzgerald, have been sent to the area ahead of the launch, a Navy official said.

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