During President Obama’s recent visit to Japan, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice proposed a plan to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to link up Japanese missile defense systems with assets in South Korea as well as with US military missile defense capabilities, reported the Yomiuri Shimbun, which cited Japanese officials. The plan would enable all three countries to get information about launches from North Korea immediately after detection by linking Japanese anti-missile capabilities with sensors and radars operated in South Korea. However, lingering mistrust between South Korea and Japan has slowed down the effort. In addition, South Korea is concerned the Chinese might take offense. South Korea and Japan’s defense ministers will hold talks with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Singapore later this month, prior to the annual Shangri La Dialogue security conference, said spokesman for the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Defense during a May 19 briefing. Still, the issue of intelligence sharing for joint missile defense activities would not be on the agenda for the trilateral talks between Hagel and his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, added the spokesman. Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle has said improved missile defense cooperation is one of his top priorities.
Three types of U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft participated in air-to-air refueling with a commercial tanker for the first time last month, coinciding with a bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Singapore that concluded Nov. 24.