“North Korea appears to have completed the development of a Japan-targeted nuclear missile,” the paper reported the national security source saying.
The test-fired missile reportedly travelled at 15 times the speed of sound. Japanese and US military officials said the missile flew around 800km and reached an altitude of 2,000km before it dropped into the sea.Sponsored Ads
In a warning to China, the defense secretary expressed his intention to maintain the “freedom of navigation” operation — maritime patrols by U.S. military vessels and other ships — in South China Sea waterways. “We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo,” he added.
Inada took the podium following her U.S. counterpart’s speech. Addressing Pyongyang’s threats, she stressed: “The United States is making clear through both words and deeds that ‘all options are on the table.’ I strongly support the U.S. position.”
“In the East China Sea, government ships of a certain country continue to make periodic incursions into Japanese territorial waters,” the minister continued. “The construction of outposts in the South China Sea and their use for military purposes continues. I am deeply concerned about the situation,” she added.
Japan wants an unknown number of Tomahawks. The missiles themselves will likely be deployed among Japan’s fleet of Aegis destroyers. Each destroyer has 90 Mk. 41 vertical launch silos, and each silo can accommodate one Tomahawk.
The purchase of offensive cruise missiles would be a first for Japan and a major change in the country’s security policy. Having forsaken war as an instrument of national policy, Japan maintains so-called “Self Defense Forces” that are defensive only. Offensive weapons such as aircraft carriers, marines, and cruise missiles have been prohibited as a matter of policy.
Despite the illusion of a stable new status quo, AMTI has previously documented that the Chinese ships entering Japanese-claimed waters are growing larger and better-armed month by month. Since the August 2016 incident, Chinese government vessels have also reportedly begun to linger in the waters around the Senkakus longer during each trip, further challenging Japan’s administration. China’s annual fishing ban begins again on May 1, and there is reason to worry that its expiration in August will bring another large Chinese fishing fleet to the Senkakus, and with it another excuse for China to test Japanese determination.
According to a former Japanese government senior official who participated in the event, there had been no previous instance of former high-ranking officials from both Japan and the United States taking part together in war games dealing with a delicate issue such as the Senkaku Islands. After the games finished, some participants spoke of the difficulty they had communicating with the other sides. “I couldn’t understand what they were thinking, and I misread their approach,” one participant said.
James Kendall, a fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and a former U.S. Marine Corps officer, directed the event and said it provided some valuable insights.
“A U.S. team that was very experienced — very senior, and very used to dealing with Japan and Asia — they did not understand the depth of Japanese restrictions and concerns about using the Self Defense Force,” Kendall said. “The controllers were surprised at how determined the Japanese side was to keep the SDF out of the situation. For the China team side, this caused a great deal of mistrust … So, this was a very good lesson … But this is mirrored in reality.”
Japanese people are ordering specialized nuclear fallout shelters as North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, a company in Western Japan, that builds shelters, has received eight orders this month, two more than its usual total for an entire year, Reuters reports. The company has also sold out of air purifiers designed to block radiation and poisonous gas, Nobuko Oribe, the company director, explained to reporters.
While the world watches mounting military tensions in the South China Sea, another, more ominous situation is brewing in the East China Sea that could be the trigger point for a major war between the superpowers. At the heart of tensions are eight uninhabited islands controlled by Japan that are close to important shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and potential oil and gas reserves. China contests Japan’s claims and is escalating its military activity in Japan airspace. In response, Japan has been doubling its F-15 jet intercepts.
The situation increases the risk of an accidental confrontation — and could draw other countries, like the United States, into a conflict. It’s a topic President Trump will likely bring up with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate this week.
Japan is building up its influence in the South China Sea, the most widely contested body of water in Asia, to curb Chinese expansion and garner support for its broader military as well as economic interests.
In May, Japan will send its Izumo helicopter-carrying warship to the South China Sea for three months of port visits in Southeast Asia before directing it onward to the Indian Ocean for drills with the United States, according to the U.S. Naval Institute’s news website.
“You see this warship more as a multipurpose platform,” said Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “It can do humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. It can do anti-submarine warfare, so a few signals Japan wants to send via this deployment.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a series of meetings in Asia this week with the region in a military turmoil.
North Korean missiles streaking toward Japan.
US anti-missile batteries arriving in South Korea.
China’s foreign minister fearing a massive military confrontation is about to happen.
China’s state news agency openly speculating Asia is on the verge of a nuclear arms race, the likes of which has not been seen since the Cold War.
Each one of these things alone would be enough to destabilize the status quo.
Taken together, they have placed tensions in North Asia on a knife’s edge.
The US and Japan have passed a crucial test for missile defense, shooting down a medium-range ballistic missile with a new interceptor launched from a guided-missile destroyer.
The US Missile Defense Agency announced that the USS John Paul Jones detected, tracked and took out the target ballistic missile using its onboard Aegis Missile Defense System and a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor.
The test took place Friday night off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.