The United States has deployed two warships equipped with ballistic missiles to the Asia-Pacific waters as North Korea prepares to launch its second long-range rocket by mid-December
The United States has deployed two warships equipped with ballistic missiles to the Asia-Pacific waters as North Korea prepares to launch its second long-range rocket by mid-December.
Head of US Pacific Command Admiral Samuel Locklear said on Thursday that the Pentagon had deployed the vessels “so we understand if they do violate the UN Security Council (resolution) and launch a missile, what kind is it? What is it about? Where does it go? Who’s threatened?”
Locklear added that the US Navy took a similar approach in mid-April, when North Korea launched the 30-meter-long (100-foot-long) Unha-3 (Galaxy-3) that disintegrated in the air soon after blastoff and fell into the ocean.
“I think they (North Korea) have progressively gained better technology over time through a number of methods, a number of years and decades.”
The US admiral expressed doubt over Pyongyang’s success in its upcoming rocket launch.
According to a US Navy official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the two vessels are the USS Benfold and the USS Fitzgerald, and they are equipped with the sophisticated Aegis ballistic missile system.
North Korea’s state news agency said on December 1 that the country would launch its Unha-3 rocket, which will also carry “polar-orbiting earth observation satellite” for “peaceful scientific and technological” purposes.