Pentagon Approves $133Mln Worth Sale of Interceptor Missiles to Japan

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This was the 27th consecutive kill of a test ICBM by the Aegis system.

The sale comes as North and South Korea hold talks to navigate North Korea's entry into the Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea Feb. 9 - 25.

The State Department has approved the potential $133.3 million foreign military sale of Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missiles to Japan.

North Korea ramped up its missile activity in the vicinity of Japan a year ago, firing ballistic missiles that repeatedly landed in the Sea of Japan, raising concerns in Tokyo.

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The sale would also "follow through on President Donald Trump's commitment to provide additional defensive capabilities to treaty allies" threatened by North Korea's "provocative behaviour", a State Department official said in a statement on Tuesday. With its launch, North Korea has become "a state nuclear force." .

The government plans to introduce a new missile intercept system on two new Aegis-equipped destroyers that will be deployed in fiscal 2019 and 2020, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. "Japan is no longer needed to exist near us".

The system will commence operation in 2019-2020.

In late December, Japan's Cabinet approved its budget plan for fiscal 2018, with a record-high defense spending.

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Since then, the Panama-registered tanker Sanchi has been ablaze and drifting in the waters between Shanghai and southern Japan. South Korean authorities have said that the flames could last for up to a month given the consequences of previous oil spills.

Moscow criticized Japan's plans to expand its missile shield with Aegis systems, saying it could undermine bilateral relations "including negotiations on a peace treaty" that has not been concluded between Russian Federation and Japan since WWII. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warning that the deal could undermine bilateral relations "including negotiations on a peace treaty" that has not been concluded between Russia and Japan since WWII.

"As North Korea has not changed its stance of continuing nuclear and missile development, Japan believes that it is important to increase the worldwide community's pressure on North Korea under the leadership of Japan, the United States and the ROK while maintaining close co-operation between the three countries", the minister said. However, Washington defended Japan saying the deal is in "full compliance" with the agreement.

The IAMD is targeted at not only ballistic missiles but also cruise missiles and other aerial threats.

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