A missile defense exercise conducted by the United States and its top two Asian allies Japan and South Korea, off Hawaii has raised the profile of military exercises that demonstrate cooperation in the face of threats.
A missile warning and ballistic missile search and tracking exercise were conducted during the multinational Pacific Dragon drills Aug 8-14. In a statement, the Pentagon said the three countries demonstrated their commitment to addressing North Korea’s threats, ensuring shared security, and bolstering the rules-based international order.
As a result of South Korea’s 2016 decision to host a U.S. military THAAD battery, the joint missile defense measures led by the United States have been a sore point with China. Yoon has been requested by Beijing to honour his predecessor’s assurances of not expanding the THAAD radar assets, participating in a U.S-led missile shield, or creating a trilateral military alliance involving Japan, which Beijing says can penetrate its territory.
Ministerial meetings were held in June between the three countries and the drills were agreed upon. In 2018 and 2020, despite the drills taking place every two years, they were not publicized due to tensions between Tokyo and Seoul.