U.S., Allies Agree to Further Study Intel Swaps on North Korea Missiles

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meets with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, right, and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, center, on Saturday in Singapore. The three defense chiefs agreed to hold future talks on three-way information sharing about North Korea's missile program.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
June 2, 2014, 11:02 a.m.

The United States and its East Asia al­lies on Sat­urday agreed to fur­ther study pos­sible tri­lat­er­al in­form­a­tion ex­changes about the North Korean mis­sile threat.

The heads of de­fense for Wash­ing­ton, Seoul and Tokyo dur­ing a three-way dis­cus­sion in Singa­pore “re­af­firmed the im­port­ance of in­form­a­tion shar­ing on North Korea nuc­le­ar and mis­sile threats and shared an un­der­stand­ing that this is­sue needs to be re­viewed fur­ther,” says a joint state­ment re­leased after the meet­ing.

No men­tion was made in the state­ment from U.S. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel, Ja­pan­ese De­fense Min­is­ter It­sun­ori Onodera and South Korean De­fense Min­is­ter Kim Kwan-jin about an of­fi­cial agree­ment be­ing reached that would en­able the dir­ect shar­ing between Ja­pan and South Korea of sensor data re­lated to North Korean mis­sile launches. Such a pact was earli­er en­vi­sioned to res­ult from the sit-down, which happened on the mar­gins of the an­nu­al Shangri-La Dia­logue in Singa­pore.

Patrick Cronin, seni­or dir­ect­or of the Asia-Pa­cific Se­cur­ity Pro­gram at the Cen­ter for a New Amer­ic­an Se­cur­ity, said that des­pite the lack of a big com­mit­ment in the joint state­ment, Sat­urday’s dis­cus­sion ac­tu­ally did pro­duce a sig­ni­fic­ant break­through in U.S. ef­forts to boost re­gion­al mis­sile de­fense co­oper­a­tion.

The newly reached un­der­stand­ing de­scribed in the joint state­ment only cov­ers in­form­a­tion shar­ing re­lated to the North, something that ap­peases Seoul, he said in a Monday phone in­ter­view. An earli­er Ja­pan-South Korea draft deal on in­tel­li­gence shar­ing foundered two years ago in part over Tokyo’s de­sire to ex­change in­form­a­tion about both North Korean and Chinese mis­sile threats, ac­cord­ing to Cronin.

And Ja­pan achieved its goal of get­ting the is­sue of in­tel­li­gence co­oper­a­tion with the South back on the re­gion­al agenda, Cronin said.

“So they each got something,” he ad­ded, not­ing that any form­al in­form­a­tion-shar­ing agree­ment would still be sub­jec­ted to le­gis­lat­ive ap­prov­al in the East Asi­an coun­tries.

Cur­rently, there are bi­lat­er­al in­form­a­tion-ex­change agree­ments in place between the United States and Ja­pan, and between the United States and South Korea.

This has cre­ated a “bit of a hub-and-spoke mod­el, with the U.S. in the middle talk­ing to the Ja­pan­ese on one side, talk­ing to the Koreans on the oth­er,” said an uniden­ti­fied seni­or De­fense De­part­ment of­fi­cial ac­com­pa­ny­ing Hagel on his trip to Singa­pore in a brief­ing with journ­al­ists.

South Korea is build­ing a do­mest­ic an­ti­mis­sile frame­work — the Korea Air and Mis­sile De­fense sys­tem — that will in­volve up­dated Pat­ri­ot Ad­vanced Cap­ab­il­ity 2 and PAC-3 in­ter­cept­ors aimed at de­fend­ing against a lower-tiered mis­sile strike launched by the North.

“That makes sense, you know, for where they sit right now,” the un­named Pentagon of­fi­cial said. “But the key is to get it in­ter­op­er­able and in­teg­rated in­to one sys­tem that is [as] ef­fect­ive as pos­sible.”

In the case of East Asia an­ti­mis­sile co­oper­a­tion, “in­ter­op­er­able” refers to the abil­ity of dif­fer­ent sys­tems to pass do­main aware­ness data to one an­oth­er, in­clud­ing pos­sible real-time in­form­a­tion, Cronin said. Sys­tem “in­teg­ra­tion” goes bey­ond that, by en­abling sep­ar­ate tech­no­lo­gies to work to­geth­er to for­mu­late an “in­stant­an­eous” in­ter­cept plan in re­sponse to a de­tec­ted mis­sile fir­ing.

While the South ap­pears to be “will­ing to go along” with the goal of achiev­ing sys­tem in­ter­op­er­ab­il­ity with Ja­pan and the United States, for now “they are not will­ing to have a per­man­ently fixed, in­teg­rated early-warn­ing and shoot-to-kill mis­sile sys­tem” with the two coun­tries, Cronin said.

U.S. an­ti­mis­sile co­oper­a­tion with Ja­pan, mean­while, is already fur­ther along.

The United States is sched­uled by the end of the year to de­ploy the second of two early-warn­ing radars on Ja­pan­ese ter­rit­ory and is slated by 2017 to re­deploy two more Ae­gis-equipped war­ships to the is­land coun­try.

While Seoul has de­cided against pur­chas­ing Ae­gis mis­sile in­ter­cept­ors that could be used against high­er-alti­tude threats, Tokyo has its own Ae­gis fleet. Ad­di­tion­ally, Ja­pan­ese firms are col­lab­or­at­ing with U.S. de­fense com­pan­ies to pro­duce a next-gen­er­a­tion Stand­ard Mis­sile 3 in­ter­cept­or de­ploy­able both on Ae­gis ves­sels at sea and on land.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×