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North Korea's missiles rattles Japan

Dec. 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM

TOKYO, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- North Korea's recent missile test unsettled regional nations, including Japan, leaving officials worried about the military implications.

In addition to radar deployed by the Japanese Ministry of Defense to track the launch, several U.S. Navy destroyers, carrying radar systems built by U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, tracked the missile's trajectory from vessels in the waters off the Philippines and Hawaii, along with U.S. reconnaissance satellites, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

"Washington has a strong sense of crisis," a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said, adding that the launch itself "could pose a threat to the United States."

Prior to Wednesday's launch South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told a National Assembly meeting of the Defense Committee that the three-stage missile was believed to have a "range of 6,000 miles," roughly the distance from North Korea to the U.S. West Coast.

Prior to the test U.S. Pacific Command head U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear said that PACOM would pay close attention to intelligence-gathering activities to determine the type of missile fired, analyze its trajectory and predict what threats it would pose and where its fragments might return to Earth.

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