TAIPEI: South Korea, Japan and the United States will hold their first anti-missile drills together next month to guard against threats from nuclear-armed North Korea, a Seoul official said Monday.
The drill will be held in the waters near Hawaii on June 28, said an official at the Seoul’s defense ministry, ahead of the US-led Rim of the Pacific naval exercises.
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“The training will involve detecting and tracing an imaginary missile from North Korea, but will not include missile interception,” said the official.
The US will launch an airplane as a mock-up missile, which all three countries will monitor from ships equipped with an Aegis anti-missile system, Yonhap news agency reported.
The upcoming exercise was proposed at a trilateral military meeting held after the North’s long-range rocket launch in February, the official added.
The rocket launch — held a month after Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test and seen as a disguised ballistic missile test — drew widespread condemnation and prompted the UN Security Council to slap its toughest sanctions ever on North Korea.
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Existing UN resolutions forbid the North from the use of any ballistic missile-related technology.
Pyongyang responded by launching a series of short-range missiles off its east coast and trying — although unsuccessfully — to test-fire a powerful, new medium-range missile in April.
The North has recently claimed a series of major technical breakthroughs in developing what it sees as the ultimate goal of its nuclear drive: an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the US mainland.