The United States has activated its new ground-based interceptor missile defense system in response to a possible North Korean missile test, according to a published report.
A Washington Times story in Tuesday's editions says the United States is considering intercepting the missile if North Korea goes ahead with the test.
The U.S. missile defense system is described in the article of being made up by 11 long-range interceptor missiles, including nine deployed at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The system was switched from test to operational mode within the past two weeks, the officials said.
The report quotes unnamed U.S. officials as saying two Navy Aegis warships are patrolling in waters off the Korean peninsula and would be among the first sensors that would trigger the use of interceptors.
A senior Bush administration official is quoted as saying that an option being considered is to shoot down the Taepodong-2 missile.
The report came after Pyongyang declared Tuesday it is free to conduct missile tests despite a self-imposed moratorium, saying it is not bound by prior agreements and that outsiders have no right to criticize its actions.