Saturday, July 08, 2006

US Navy Missile Destroyer Arrives in Japan

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingTOKYO (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer with the navy's most advanced combat weapon system arrived in Japan on Saturday as tensions surrounding North Korea's missile tests remained high.

The USS Mustin, equipped with missile tracking and engaging systems and with a crew of 300, will be permanently deployed at the navy's Yokosuka base in Tokyo Bay, U.S. Navy spokeswoman Hanako Tomizuka said.

The U.S. Navy now has eight vessels equipped with its Aegis weapon system at Yokosuka, home of its Seventh Fleet. They are scheduled to be joined next month by the Aegis cruiser Shiloh, which last month took part in an exercise off Hawaii that involved successfully intercepting a missile in flight.

Separately, Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force conducted a missile firing drill off the Hawaiian island of Kauai on Friday as part of a multinational exercise, Kyodo news agency said on Saturday. Three destroyers each successfully fired a missile at an unmanned target aircraft, it said.

A salvo of missile tests by North Korea on Wednesday, including the launch of a long-range Taepodong-2 missile, unsettled the region and led to calls for the United Nations Security Council to impose international sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korea has insisted it has the right to test the missiles, and has said it would consider sanctions against it a declaration of war. Much of its anger has been aimed at Japan for pushing for sanctions.

Japan also banned a North Korean ferry, the only regular direct link between the two countries, from entering its ports for six months as part of a package of initial sanctions.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingA poll published on Saturday found that four-fifths of Japanese think their country should step up economic sanctions against North Korea in response to the missile launches.

A total of 80.7 percent favored stronger sanctions such as blocking money remittances to North Korea or curbing trade with Pyongyang, according to a survey of 1,011 people conducted on Friday and Saturday by Kyodo.

On North Korea's missile firings, 87 percent expressed anxiety, with 45.2 percent saying they "feel very anxious" and 41.8 percent saying they "feel somewhat anxious," it said.
I tell ya! It warms my heart to see North Korea's flag burning. I hope it's a trend that catches on!!