North Korea crisis: US, Japan South Korea hold missile-tracking drills
North Korea has been advancing its nuclear arsenal at a rapid pace stoking fear within the international community. Amid this insecurity, the US, South Korea and Japan are set to commence a two-day missile tracking drill. According to Japan's Maritime Self Defense Forces, the drills would aim to facilitate an exchange of information on ballistic missile tracking between the three allies. Here's more.
Growing nuclear threats from North Korea
There has been a growing nuclear threat from North Korea. In July, it tested an ICBM which purportedly brought the entire US within its strike range. In August, it threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the US-Pacific territory of Guam in response to Trump's threats. In September, Pyongyang tested a Hydrogen-bomb. In November, it test-fired its highest-ever missile which reached a 4,500km altitude.
US-Japan-South Korea military drills: What context is this happening in?
After testing its latest missile, Hwasong-15 last month, the US warned that Pyongyang would be "utterly destroyed" if war started. Moreover, the US has resorted to repeated show of force in recent times. It recently flew a B-1B bomber over the Korean peninsula. Further, the US and South Korea conducted joint military drills recently. Pyongyang responded angrily, saying: "this made war an established fact."
What would the drills focus on?
According to the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces, the three countries will look towards sharing information on tracking ballistic missiles with each other. There was no confirmation on whether the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), the anti-ballistic system that Washington has installed in South Korea to counter North Korean missiles will be involved in the drills.