South Korea, U.S., Japan launch anti-missile drill

By Jennie Oh  |  Dec. 11, 2017 at 8:01 AM
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SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- South Korea began a joint anti-missile drill with the United States and Japan on Monday, as a show of force against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

The South Korean military's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the two-day drill would be held in waters off the Korean Peninsula and Japan, Yonhap reported.

The allied forces will focus on detecting and tracking ballistic missiles fired from the North through computer-simulated training, involving South Korea's Seoae Ryu Seong Ryong Aegis destroyer, the U.S. Aegis destroyers and Japan's Chokai Aegis ship.

The combined drill is the sixth of its kind since 2016, and is being held amid speculation that North Korea may soon test a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Earlier this month, North Korea monitoring website 38 North published a report that suggested the regime is be nearing the completion of a platform to test a SLBM.

According to its satellite imagery taken throughout November, a second submersible ballistic missile test stand barge was moved to a fitting-out dock at the western Nampo Navy Shipyard.

Vessels usually receive the finishing touches on their structures at the dock before they become operational, according to the report.

North Korea installed its first SLBM test barge at Sinpo South Shipyard.

The regime successfully tested the Pukgusong-1 SLBM in August 2016 and six months later fired the upgraded land-based variant Pukgusong-2 into the East Sea.

After the North's Hwasong-15 ICBM launch last month, there are growing speculations that the North may soon test the Pukgusong-3 SLBM, Tokyo Shimbun reported last month.

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