Asia Minute: South Korea, Japan, and U.S. Coordinating Anti-Missile Exercise

May 17, 2016

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The waters off Hawai‘i will be the scene of a new kind of military exercise next month. For the first time, forces from the United States, South Korea and Japan will hold a joint missile defense drill. HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.

This exercise will test an information-sharing network among the United States, Japan and South Korea…in case of a North Korean missile launch.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced each country will use an Aegis destroyer as part of the drill late next month…which will aim to trace the theoretical path of a ballistic missile.

The three countries have previously cooperated in search and rescue operations, but information sharing is a new step—and a delicate one.

Under the terms of an agreement reached nearly two years ago, the United States acts an intermediary between Japan and South Korea—which do not directly share information with each other.

Japan occupied the Korean peninsula as a colony from 1910 until the end of World War Two, and military cooperation remains a politically sensitive topic in South Korea.

The drill will take place just ahead of the Rim of the Pacific military exercises in and around Hawai‘i—also known as RIMPAC.

RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime military exercise…South Korea and Japan are among the more than two dozen participants and observers that will be here in July and August.

That includes China, but not Russia.

Earlier this month, China and Russia announced they would hold their first-ever joint exercise on countering a missile attack.