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U.S., Japan, and South Korea Conduct Joint, Two-Day-Run Missile Defense Exercise

Dec. 11, 2017 (EIRNS)—A missile defense exercise hosted by Japan, with South Korean and U.S. participation, kicked off today, in the wake of last week’s U.S.-South Korean Vigilant Ace exercise, which wrapped up on Dec. 8. In the two-day exercise, four Aegis-equipped destroyers from the three countries will detect and track computer-simulated missiles and share related information, according to a report in the Japan Times.

The Korea Herald, meanwhile, citing Japan’s NHK TV network, reports that rumors in Seoul that consideration is being given to postponing the next round of the annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercises, which normally take place during the March/April time frame. The reason being given, is that the exercise schedule is likely to overlap with the schedule of the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Paralympics, both of which are being hosted in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, about 80 km south of the DMZ, in February and March.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked about the NHK report, just said the two sides were yet to finalize the exercise plan.

"As far as we know, no decision has been made [on next year’s exercise schedule,]" JCS spokesperson Col. Roh Jae-chun said in a regular press briefing today. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, another JCS official said it’s a "very sensitive issue," to be handled at the "government level." Korea Herald reported that consideration was earlier being given to suspending the key Resolve exercise, but that this was before North Korea’s Nov. 29 missile test.