U.S., Japan deploy missile destroyers ahead of N Korean launch
Washington, United States (4E) – As the date of North Korea’s ambitious rocket launch approaches, the United States on Thursday deployed naval ships with ballistic missile defenses, including two guided missile destroyers, the USS Benfold and the USS Fitzgerald, Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of US Pacific Command said.
Talking to reporters at a press conference in Pentagon, Locklear described American naval ships’ presence in the region as logical because that is how the ships would be able to track the North Korean launch. He added that the U.S. Navy is going for a similar approach it followed at Pyongyang’s last launch.
“American naval ships had been sent to the region so we understand if they do violate the UN Security Council (resolution) and launch a missile, what kind is it? What is it about? Where does it go? Who’s threatened?” he said.
The admiral further said that the U.S. is closely monitoring all North’s moves. In addition to it, the American forces would also look for any stray parts that might fall from the rocket.
Meanwhile, Japan has also sent three Aegis destroyers, armed with SM-3 missile interceptors, to its waters ahead of North Korea’s rocket launch.
It also sent a naval ship with PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability-3) ballistic missiles in Okinawan island of Miyakojima. Tokyo’s move came shortly after Pyongyang notified it that its rocket may possible pass through its territory.
Talking to reporters in Tokyo, dead dictator’s former sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto expected that the launch might take place on December 17 to commemorate late leader’s first death anniversary. “I think he is talking with the military, but I don’t think he is aggressively pushing to launch a missile,” Fujimoto said, referring to leader Kim Jong-Un, who is only keen on marking his father’s anniversary.
Pyongyang is planning to launch its second long-range rocket between December 10 and 22 to mark first death anniversary of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s father. The U.S. and its allies suspect that North Korea is planning disguised tests for an inter-continental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead under rocket launch cover – a charge Pyongyang denies and insists it is a “peaceful, scientific” mission to place one of its satellites into orbit.