The United States, South Korea, and Japan will hold a joint exercise in Hawaii in June 2016, on the sidelines of the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise.
The trilateral US-South Korea-Japan exercise will focus on anti-missile operations and will include guided-missile destroyers from the three navies featuring the integrated Aegis Combat System.
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) (File)
All three navies operate Aegis-equipped vessels, which specialize in ballistic missile defense against short- and intermediate-range missiles, able to track and destroy enemy targets. The drill will reportedly simulate detecting and intercepting ballistic missiles.
Besides, according to the South Korean daily The Hankyoreh, “the exercises also appear to be a preparatory step for linking of the three sides’ missile defense networks.”
“South Korea and the US have already made plans to complete interlinkage of US Forces Korea‘s missile defense system with Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system within the year,” the outlet says.
In February, the US and South Korea decided to start official talks on the deployment of a US ground-to-air missile system to US forces in South Korea called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), which is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles at high altitudes.
The move has already caused a negative reaction from China, which calls it a threat to its borders.
Commenting on the upcoming moves, Russian Center for Public Policy Research director Vladimir Yevseyev told Sputnik that it won’t be left unanswered by both Russia and China. Besides, Russia has all the means to countermeasure the deployment of the US global missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula.
“I think that the answer to the inclusion of South Korea into the US global missile defense network in Asian-Pacific Region will be, in the first place, the strengthening of China’s naval and air force,” the analyst said.
“The countermeasures could include the delivery to China of Russia’s highly efficient Kalibr cruise missiles which could be installed on a diesel-powered submarine. It will allow to efficiently counteract the US global missile defense system which is currently covering the territory from Alaska to Australia,” he added.
The analyst also said that Russia has in its possession a large arsenal of countermeasures against a missile defense system.
In the nearest future, it will include Russia’s new Sarmat ballistic missile and the “Barguzin” combat railway missile complex.
The expert however noted that the US radar locators might pose certain problems to Russia, but they will be highly insufficient.
However, he added, that if Russia feels any threats to its territories in Asia, it will undertake measures similar to those it is currently undertaking against the deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe.