Amidst positive developments of dialogue resumption between the two Koreas, The US administration has approved a $133.3 million sale of anti-ballistic missiles to Japan to defend itself from a threat from North Korea.
According to State Department officials, quoted by Fox news, it has notified the Congress on Tuesday asking it to approve the sale of the four missiles for the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor. They say that the proposal “also included four Mk 29 missile canisters, and other technical, engineering and logistics support services.”
During his November visit to Japan, Donald Trump said that Japan would shoot North Korean missiles “out of the sky” if it bought the U.S. weaponry needed for doing for doing so and suggested Tokyo take a stance it has avoided until now.
Trump, went ahead after the summit with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, saying the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over and added that the two countries were working to counter the “dangerous aggressions”.
The fox news quotes the official saying that the sale of the missiles follows through “on President Trump’s commitment to provide additional defensive capabilities to treaty allies threatened by the DPRK’s provocative behavior.”
The proposed sale of anti-Ballistic missiles, if concluded, would contribute to the US “foreign policy and national security interests. It will bolster the security of a major treaty ally that has been, and continues to be, a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region. It will also improve (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s) interoperability with US missile defense systems, and increase the protection for US installations in the region.”
The missiles, made by Raytheon Co and BAE Systems, can be launched from destroyers at sea or from a land-based system.
Within one month after Trump’s Tokyo sojourn, Japan formally decided to expand its ballistic missile system using US-made ground-based Aegis radar stations and interceptors in December.
Reuters reported in December that the cost of building two Aegis Ashore batteries without the missiles would be at least $2 billion and it was not likely to be operational until 2023 at the earliest.
According to a Pentagon statement issued on Monday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera “condemned North Korea’s reckless and unlawful behavior,” while talking on phone.
During his maiden foreign trip after occupying White House to Saudi Arabia in May last year, US President Donald Trump had concluded a $110 billion arms deal.