Ballistic missile testing wasn't explicitly included in the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers. But as part of the final negotiations, Iran agreed to an eight-year extension of a U.N. ban on ballistic missile development. The U.N. Security Council later endorsed the agreement, calling on Iran not to carry out such tests. But Iran has flouted the prohibition regularly in the past year-and-a-half, drawing sanctions from the U.S. but also diplomatic cover from Russia.
Japan will consider increasing the pace of upgrades to its ballistic missile defense system in cooperation with the United States as the allies race to meet the threat posed by an effective increase in the speed of North Korean missiles, a Japanese government source said. A proposal to adopt a land-based Aegis missile defense system known as Aegis Ashore will be the main topic of a Japan-U.S. foreign and defense ministers' meeting in Washington next month, the source said Sunday. The Defense Ministry will request a budget for fiscal 2018 starting in April to include funds required to prepare for an Aegis Ashore deployment, according to the source. The number of Maritime Self-Defense Force ships with the Aegis missile defense system may not be enough to shield all of the Japan against North Korean ballistic missiles if they are launched with a higher trajectory to make them fall faster and at a steeper angle, the source said. Japan now has six Aegis destroyers, with four capable of intercepting ballistic missiles.
North Korea renewed its threat Friday to fire ballistic missiles in the direction of the American territory of Guam, following ominous earlier threats by the rogue regime to launch missiles topped with hydrogen bombs to wipe out cities on the continental United States. We need to be prepared to defend against new North Korean missile launches – and there is a way to do this short of full-scale war. One U.S. military option would be to deploy a special team of two or three guided-missile destroyers – ships especially equipped to target, track and shoot down ballistic missiles – to strategic locations off the North Korean coastline. The ships would be positioned outside the 12-mile internationally recognized maritime territorial limit, or at other locations that intelligence indicates would be effective. Sources intimately familiar with the operations and deployments of those destroyers – and the vast capabilities of their top-secret ballistic missile defense systems – tell me such a plan could work.