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US boosts Pacific missile defense ahead of Trump-Kim meet

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – The United States has deployed an advanced warship to Japan in order to form a “ballistic defense platform” in the region, a provocative move ahead of the upcoming summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The US Navy announced on Tuesday that the USS Milius, one of the most advanced US guided missile destroyers currently in service, had arrived in Japan’s Yokosuka Naval Base.

The move was aimed at reinforcing missile defenses against any ballistic missile attacks by North Korea, or anyone else in East Asia, the Navy said in a statement.

The Milius will “support security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region by bringing enhanced missile defense capabilities as a ballistic missile defense platform”, the statement added.

The development comes three weeks before a historic meeting that is supposed to take place between Kim and Trump in Singapore on June 12.

The two leaders have agreed to discuss a possible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for the removal of US-led sanctions against the people of North Korea.

The Milius was supposed to be deployed to Japan almost a year ago but the mission was delayed to upgrade its Aegis air defense system and increase the ship’s ability to detect and target missiles.

Equipped with missiles that are reportedly capable of tracking and shooting down warheads in space, the Milius is part of a naval destroyer force that acts as the first US line of defense against any missile attacks by the North.

Besides the warships, the US has deployed several batteries of Patriot and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to South Korea and Japan in order to bolstering its defenses, as American commanders say.

The supposed show of force seems to be an extension of Trump’s initial plans to put North Korea under military pressure and keep ahead with a US push to dismantle the North’s nuclear weapons and its ballistic missile program.

North Korea has already warned the Trump administration that it would abandon the talks in case the US and South Korea continues their joint military drills off the Korean Peninsula. The North views the war games as an act of war.

Trump has warned that failure to reach a denuclearization agreement could lead to “decimation” of Kim’s rule.

The Milius has joined other ships in the Seventh Fleet with similar upgrades on their missile systems, bringing the the fleet’s destroyer force back to full strength after two of them were involved in deadly collisions with commercial ships last year.

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