Neighboring militaries preparing for North Korean threat

The Hankyoreh
By Park Hyun, Park Min-hee and Jeong Nam-ku
Janury 29, 2013

China, Japan and the US expanding missile interceptor technology as tensions rise in Northeast Asia

With North Korea declaring its intention to push ahead with a third nuclear test following the United Nations Security Council resolution on its launch of a long-range rocket, it seems hardly a coincidence that the US, China, and Japan have launched their own interceptor missiles and spy satellites. As the intensity of the North Korean nuclear crisis soars and the strategic competition between the US and China, and between China and Japan, heats up in the Asia-Pacific region, military tensions are on the rise in Northeast Asia.

On Jan. 26 (local time), the US Defense Department announced that it had succeeded in a test of a missile defense system that can intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that are aimed at the continental US while they are still outside the atmosphere. This test is part of a project that is being conducted to defend the continental US from the ICBM threat posed by North Korea and Iran.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), a section of the US Defense Department, said, “We were successful in our launch of a three-stage ground-based interceptor (GBI) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.”

The test was conducted as part of the development of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD). A ballistic missile’s trajectory is divided into the launch phase, a middle phase when it is in outer space beyond the atmosphere, and a final phase where it enters the atmosphere once again. GMD refers to intercepting a ballistic missile in this middle phase.

“We didn’t launch a real missile to serve as a target for the interceptor,” the MDA said. “However, if such a target missile had existed, the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) that was attached to the interceptor rocket would have collided with the target and destroyed it.” …

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