Japan sends biggest warship to protect United States supply vessel
04 May, 2017, 00:22 | Author: Elaine Woods
Chris Coons (D, DE) from the Armed Services Committee once again talked up the idea of the U.S. conducting a "first strike" attack on North Korea, saying it was a "serious" possibility. Moon did not say when Washington and...
The deployment has triggered anger from Seongju residents who fear North Korea may target their town and who worry about rumored health hazards linked to THAAD's powerful radar.
Japan has reportedly deployed a helicopter carrier and authorized it to use weapons, if necessary, to escort and protect a U.S. supply vessel.
Pyongyang conducted its latest missile test on Saturday, the same day that the United States carrier reached the Sea of Japan and conducted military drills with Japanese and South Korean troops.
"The operation is meant to tout the strength of Japan-U.S. collaboration" at a time when tensions are growing over North Korea, a senior defense official said.
An embassy official said Mike Pompeo and his wife were in the South Korean capital on Monday, but wouldn't say for how long.
Japan's Self-Defense Forces were assigned with guarding USA warships during peacetime under new security laws enacted in March 2016.
The U.S. Navy strike group heading toward the Korean Peninsula entered the Sea of Japan on Saturday, according to Japanese news outlet NHK.
The government appears to have judged it would be able to achieve more efficient protection by having Sazanami join Izumo, a destroyer that can carry many patrol helicopters and is excellent at detecting submarines. Furthermore, escorting the USA ship was not the main mission, as the MSDF vessels were on their way to the event in Singapore.
In a sign that not all in Japan share Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's view that the army needs to increase capabilities, Japanese politicians said military options should not be considered over diplomatic solutions, Kyodo news agency reported Monday.
Izumo will support the U.S. vessel, responsible for providing fuel and other supplies to American vessels in the region, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its attack fleet. A US supply ship sails in the waters off the Boso Peninsula, east of Tokyo, as it is escorted by Japanese destroyer Izumo Monday, May 1, 2017.
Japan is lending a hand to the U.S. Navy as it tries to pressure North Korea.
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