Defense chief hints need to intercept China's cruise missiles

State Department Approves Possible $133.3 Million Missile Deal With Japan

State Department approves SM-3 IIA sale to Japan

The principal contractors will be Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., for the SM-3 and BAE Systems, Minneapolis, for the MK 29.

"We need to bear in mind that all these systems have universal missile launchers that can use all types of missiles".

News of the sale comes as North and South Korea hold their first talks in more than two years aimed at solving the crisis over the North's nuclear missile program.

In December, Japan made a decision to expand its ballistic missile defense system with Lockheed's ground-based Aegis in response to a growing threat from North Korean rockets.

President Donald Trump's administration has approved the sale of four missiles to Japan to bolster the country's defense system against the threat from North Korea.

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles for an estimated cost of $133.3 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a January 9 release.

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Japan has been planning to strengthen its defense system, with last month the government approving the purchase and deployment of two Aegis Ashore batteries that cost an estimated $2 billion, including infrastructure, with each unit of the system accounting for at least $888 million.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the deal with Japan was part of a bigger plan by the United States for a "global anti-missile system".

The installation of the systems will constitute a violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Moscow and the U.S., she argued, noting that the US-made ballistic defense systems are equipped with universal launchers that could carry all types of missiles.

Some defense experts say the SM-6, the next-generation interceptor missile, can shoot down a cruise missile if it is deployed to the Aegis Ashore. With its launch, North Korea has become "a state nuclear force." .

Combining these new interceptors with the new system will enable Aegis destroyers stationed at a distance to shoot down missiles fired toward Japan.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Japan Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera, in a phone call on Monday, "condemned North Korea's reckless and unlawful behavior", according to a Pentagon statement.

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