North Korea says it is prepared to launch a long range missile that will put a satelliete into orbit.
The U.S. says North Korea is really testing a long range ballistic missile that could put a nuclear weapon on the United States.
japan is stuck in the middle. If the North Korean flight fails, Japan could be under a rain cloud of debris and rocket fuel. If the North korean flight is successful, Japan could be the victim of a North korean missle attack.
Both the U.S. and Japan have the capability to shoot down the North korean missile, experts say, and both sides have sent ships at sea in a show that they mean business.
North Koreea upped the ante Thursday by saying if their missile is shot down they will restart their nuclear weapon progam. Previously the North koreans said by shooting down its peaceful satellite launch the aggressor would commit an act of war.
USS Hopper, a destroyer with the Aegis radar system aboard, was scheduled for a port call in Japan in coming days. But the port call was canceled and the ship will remain in the Sea of Japan ahead of the launch. Hooper is on the missile shoot down patrol and will be joined by at least two other U.S. Navy ships and at least two from Japan that could shoot down the North korean missile.
It’s a classic stand off of politics and military.
Peace and Freedom
TOKYO – Japan’s military mobilized Friday to protect the country from any threat if‘s looming rocket launch fails, ordering two missile-equipped destroyers to the Sea of Japan and sending batteries of Patriot missile interceptors to protect the northern coastline.
Pyongyang plans to launch its Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite April 4-8, a moved that has stoked already heightened tensions in the region. The U.S., Japan and suspect the North will use the launch to test the delivery technology for a long-range missile capable of striking Alaska.
Japan has said that it will shoot down any dangerous objects that fall its way if the launch doesn’t go off successfully. Tokyo, however, has been careful to say that it will not intervene unless its territory is in danger.
The North said earlier this month that any attack on the satellite would be an act of war.
The USS Chaffee is one of at least two U.S. Navy destroyers headed to patrol.