Seoul, Tokyo, Washington hold new missile defense drills

Seoul, Apr 17 (EFE).- South Korea, Japan and the United States on Monday began a new series of missile defense exercises just four days after North Korea first tested its most sophisticated intercontinental missile to date.

The exercises include the participation of three destroyers equipped with the Aegis anti-missile system, the South Korean ROKS Yulgok Yi I, the Japanese JS Atago and the US USS Benfold, the South Korean navy said in a statement.

The exercises focus on detecting and monitoring a ballistic missile with its trajectory simulated by computer and sharing related information in real time in order to improve response procedures.

During the trilateral defense dialogue that the three countries held last week, it was agreed to carry out anti-missile and anti-submarine exercises on a regular basis in order to counter the threat posed by North Korean weapons advances.

The last time the three countries carried out this type of anti-missile maneuvers was on Feb. 22, just four days after Pyongyang fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Last Thursday the Kim Jong-un regime carried out the first test of its Hwasong-18 missile, its first solid fuel ICBM, a much more efficient weapon in terms of storage, deployment and operation.

In turn, the South Korean and US air forces on Monday began a major air exercise that will involve more than 100 aircraft over 12 days around the Gwangju air base, some 260 kilometers south of Seoul.

Tension on the Korean Peninsula is at a high as Pyongyang is carrying out weapons tests at a record pace and the allies are implementing major military drills that include the participation of US strategic assets such as aircraft carriers and bombers. EFE


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