May 17, 2016 09:44
South Korea, the U.S. and Japan will stage a missile defense drill in June to practice detecting and tracking down North Korean missiles with Aegis vessels.
A Defense Ministry spokesman on Monday said the drill will come within the framework of the annual Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises "to effectively defend the country from the growing nuclear and missile threats from the North."
An Aegis ship coming from each of the three countries will take part in the drill off Hawaii on June 28.
The three countries will share intelligence via a ground relay station in the U.S. on the hypothetical trajectories of missiles detected by the vessels.
They will in fact be tracking a U.S. military aircraft.
"The joint exercises will be conducted within the framework of a trilateral intelligence-sharing agreement on the North's nuclear and missile threats signed in December 2014," the spokesman added.
Japan's Asahi Shimbun called the upcoming drills the "first joint South Korea-U.S.-Japan missile defense exercises," but the ministry here claimed this has "nothing to do with any country’s missile defense program."
China is nervous of any signs that South Korea is surreptitiously joining the U.S. missile defense shield in the region.
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