March 31, 2009
The US and Japan yesterday deployed anti-missile batteries on land and sea to shoot down possible debris from an intercontinental ballistic missile North Korea is expected to test in the next few days.
[efoods]Japan’s upper house of parliament unanimously passed a resolution today urging North Korea to scrap its plan, saying it would “damage peace and stability, not only in Japan but also in north-east Asia”.
South Korea also planned to dispatch its Aegis-equipped destroyer, according to a Seoul military official who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.
The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said America had no intention of shooting down the missile itself, which satellite photographs show is sitting on a launch-pad in Musudan-ri. Pyongyang says the launch is intended to put a satellite into orbit, but any such ballistic missile testing or development is banned by a 2006 United Nations resolution. Two US warships armed with Aegis anti-ballistic missiles left ports in South Korea yesterday to monitor the launch, which experts say could take place as soon as Saturday.