Experts: Given North Korea concerns, Hawaii could play major rol - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Experts: Given North Korea concerns, Hawaii could play major role in Trump military plan

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Military spending has long been a major part of Hawaii's economy. According to the Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Defense spends $8.8 billion annually across the islands, creating roughly 102,000 jobs.

Now, the Trump administration is proposing to give the military a $54-billion boost, paid for by corresponding cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid initiatives.

A local expert on Asian security issues says it's still unclear how the money might be spent, but the Pacific region could be a priority.

"It's reasonable to assume that Asia, being a very important area with a lot of ongoing very serious issues with North Korea most immediately and China in the background, that Asia Pacific would see some of this funding and Hawaii itself," said Denny Roy, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center and expert on Asian Security Issues.

Recent North Korean missile tests, along with the assassination of the exiled half brother of that country's dictator, have put a renewed spotlight on the region.  

While the investigation into who's responsible for the killing continues, the murder was apparently carried out with a poison called VX. The nerve agent is considered a weapon of mass destruction.

"North Korea has long been suspected of having chemical stockpiles. North Korea is also well known for being ready to sell just about anything to anybody as long as they're willing to pay for it," said Brad Glosserman, Executive Director, Pacific Forum CSIS. "Terrorists groups that would get their hands on this could do extraordinary damage."

One of the ways the President plans to pay defense increases is by cutting foreign aid. More than 100 former generals have signed a letter opposing those cuts, calling that money critical to our national security.

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