India Intelligence Report

   US Sends Missile Destroyer to Korea


As tensions surrounding the failed missile tests of North Korea reached panic proportions, the US Navy has sent USS Mustin, it’s most advanced combat weapon system that can track, engage, and destroy missiles, with a crew of 300 to Japan. With this addition, the US navy now has 8 vessels equipped with its Aegis weapon system at Yokosuka which is also the home of the Seventh Fleet. In addition, they are scheduled to be joined next month by the Aegis cruiser Shiloh, which successfully intercepted a missile in flight during an exercise off Hawaii last month. Simultaneously, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force participated in a multinational exercise off Hawaii firing missiles.

The increased Navy deployment comes in the wake of missile tests by North Korea when the long-range Taepodong-2 missile was also tested. While Japan has circulated a draft motion that will impose sanctions on Pyongyang, veto-members Russia and China have opposed the sanction route but say that the tests themselves are not in their interests. North Korea itself insists that it has the right to test the missiles and has vowed to consider sanctions as a declaration of war. North Korean anger mainly targets Japan for pushing the sanctions route.

Meanwhile, Japan banned the entry of a North Korean ferry service (which is the only regular direct link between the two countries), from entering its ports for six months. A recent opinion poll reported that four-fifth of Japanese feel anxious about the tests and want harsher economic sanctions on North Korea such as blocking money remittances and curbing trade to North Korea.

The US says that Washington is willing to enhance the scope of bilateral talks with North Korea within the framework of the six-party process. The US is urging China to dissuade North Korea from conducting further ballistic missile tests but Beijing claims that its influence over Pyongyang is limited. The old US “deal” is purely limited to the 6-party “process” which has been stalled because of Pyongyang’s objections to certain US sanctions its nuclear-weapons program proliferated by Pakistan. However, the US is now hinting that would be willing to engage North Korea in broader conversations too.

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