World War 3: Situation Worsens
While North Korea currently lacks the capability to hit the US mainland, the US military intelligence chief recently warned that such a development is only a matter of time, this adds pressure as the World War 3 threat continues to mount.
When North Korea feels threatened it shows its military capabilities, and that leads to more threats and sanctions from the US that prompts North Korea to demonstrate yet more, and so on, explains former US diplomat Jim Jatras.
North Korea has launched another ballistic missile on Monday. It flew about 450 kilometers before landing inside Japan’s economic zone, some 300 kilometers off the Japanese coast.
South Korea and Japan both denounced the test. Tokyo said the missile caused no damage but called it a “clear violation of UN resolutions.”
Japan is Scared
Japan wants the US to cancel military exercises in Okinawa. Tokyo is worried that in a confrontation Japan is the likely target, says Asian affairs specialist Andrew Leung.
Japan’s Defense Minister Tomomi Inada is demanding US troops, deployed on Okinawa cancel the two-day parachute exercise scheduled for Wednesday. He says the Americans haven’t given a seven-day prior notification of the exercise which is part of their defense agreement.
America Flexes its Muscle
The first ever test of an interceptor intended to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) has been successful, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said. The long-planned trial comes amid increased tensions with North Korea.
A Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor was fired from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday afternoon. The target vehicle, designed to resemble an ICBM, took off from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The intercept took place high above the Pacific Ocean, the agency said.
Tuesday’s test was planned “years in advance” and is not a direct response to recent North Korean tests of ballistic missiles, a Pentagon official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Stars and Stripes last week.
The test interceptor is equipped with an Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), which is supposed to destroy the target vehicle with a direct hit.
“This will be the first test of an upgraded kill vehicle, and the first test against an ICBM-class target,” MDA spokesman Chris Johnson said in a statement prior to the launch.
The newly-elected president of South Korea ordered a probe into why the country’s defense ministry failed to report to him the import of four more rocket launchers for the US anti-missile system in addition to the two confirmed publicly.
“President Moon said it was very shocking,” to hear the four additional launchers had been installed without being reported to the new government or to the public, presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan told a media briefing on Tuesday.
The deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was approved by the previous conservative government in Seoul, which fell after then-President Park Geun-hye of the Saenuri Party was impeached under the corruption charges. Moon Jae-in, a Democrat, won the May 9 election and is in the process of power transition. A promise to review the controversial THAAD deal was part of his campaign.
Moon’s office announced a probe into an undisclosed entry of four THAAD launchers, which were brought into the country in addition to two units, the deployment of which was publicly announced.