North Korea

North Korea Watch: United States Activates Missile Defense Shield – Part 2

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A Ground Based Interceptor Missile Leaves its Silo.

Washington Times: N. Korean threat activates shield

The Pentagon activated its new U.S. ground-based interceptor missile defense system, and officials announced yesterday that any long-range missile launch by North Korea would be considered a “provocative act.”

Poor weather conditions above where the missile site was located by U.S. intelligence satellites indicates that an immediate launch is unlikely, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

However, intelligence officials said preparations have advanced to the point where a launch could take place within several days to a month.

Two Navy Aegis warships are patrolling near North Korea as part of the global missile defense and would be among the first sensors that would trigger the use of interceptors, the officials said yesterday.

The U.S. missile defense system includes 11 long-range interceptor missiles, including nine deployed at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The system was switched from test to operational mode within the past two weeks, the officials said.

It appears the United States is positioning itself to intercept North Korea’s multi-stage Taepodong-2. The GBI missiles are deployed and the support Aegis warships are within range.

Of course, the United States or Japan could use a sea-based missile to intercept.

Aegis Ship-Based BMD

One senior Bush administration official told The Washington Times that an option being considered would be to shoot down the Taepodong missile with responding interceptors.

“U.S. Northern Command continues to monitor the situation, and we are prepared to defend the country in any way necessary,” said spokesman Michael Kucharek.

Will the United States intercept and destroy North Korea’s Taepodong ballistic missile?

Likely……..


Stay tuned…….

Update #1 7:05 AM PDT

AP: North Korea insists it can test missiles

North Korea asserted it has full autonomy to conduct missile tests, and that outsiders do not have the right to criticize its plans, Japan’s Kyodo News agency reported Tuesday.

Kyodo News quoted an unidentified official from the North Korean Foreign Ministry as saying that Pyongyang did not regard itself as bound by prior agreements to refrain from missile testing.

“Our actions are not bound by the Pyongyang Declaration, the joint declaration made at the six-party talks in September last year or any other statements,” Kyodo quoted the official as telling Japanese reporters in North Korea.

The official said his remarks represented Pyongyang’s official line on the matter, Kyodo said.

In the meantime…….

North Korea also criticized a Japanese move to buy missiles and associated equipment from the U.S. to upgrade its missile defense system, claiming it showed an intent to become “a military giant” and mount “overseas aggression,” the North’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said in commentary carried by KCNA.

As tensions grew, meanwhile, the U.S. staged war games in the western Pacific on Tuesday with 22,000 troops, 280 aircraft and three aircraft carriers.

Update #2 8:25 AM PDT

Reuters: US makes missile defense system operational

The United States has moved its ground-based interceptor missile defense system from test mode to operational amid concerns over an expected North Korean missile launch, a U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a Washington Times report that the
Pentagon has activated the system, which has been in the developmental stage for years.

“It’s good to be ready,” the official said.

U.S. officials say evidence such as satellite pictures suggests Pyongyang may have finished fueling a Taepodong-2 missile, which some experts said could reach as far as Alaska.

“There’s real caution in how to characterize it so as to not be provocative in our own approach,” the defense official said of the move to activate the system.

A missile is launched from the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70), during a test to intercept a separating ballistic missile target November 17, 2005. The United States has moved its ground-based interceptor missile defense system from test mode to operational amid concerns over an expected North Korean missile launch, a U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.
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Previous:

North Korea Watch: United States Activates Missile Defense Shield

North Korea Watch: North Korea Threatens to “Mercilessly Wipe Out” US Forces In Case of War

North Korea Watch: North Korea Close to Test Firing Taepodong-2 Missile – Capable of Reaching Mainland United States

North Korea Watch: North Korea Denies Reported Plans to Test-Fire a Long-Range Missile Capable of Reaching the U.S. Mainland

North Korea Watch: Preparing to Launch A Long Range Ballistic Missile?

North Korea Watch: North Koreans Can and Have Made a Few Nuclear Devices

North Korea Harvesting More Plutonium for Nuclear Weapons

North Korea Warned


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