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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
RELIEVES MARK TONER
Former Fox Anchor Heather Nauert to Be State Dept. Spokeswoman
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS
NOT WORRIED ABOUT BUDGET NEUTRALITY
Trump Wants to Slash Corporate Rate to 15%
10 hours ago
THE LATEST
PROMISES “MASSIVE” CUTS
Trump Tax Reform Package Coming Next Week
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Trump today said he'll be releasing his tax reformpacakge next week around the 100-day mark of his presidency. He promised that "businesses and individuals will receive a 'massive tax cut ... bigger I believe than any tax cut ever."

Source:
ONLY BROAD PRINCIPLES
Mulvaney: Tax Reform Details Won’t Be Released This Week
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."

Source:
DOMESTIC PRIORITIES
Pence Cuts Asia Trip Short For Big Week
15 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Vice President Mike Pence has cut his Asia trip short "to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday." Pence will return to Washington on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. Trump has a busy week ahead, as he plans to roll out a tax reform on framework, sign a number of executive orders, and works to keep the government open past Friday.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login