US-Led Cooperative Theater Missile Defense in Northeast Asia
Challenges and Issues
In this paper, Lt Col Rex R. Kiziah, USAF, examines current US efforts to cooperatively develop and deploy with Japan and South Korea a theater missile defense (TMD) family of systems (FoS) in Northeast Asia. First, the author summarizes the US security strategy for the East Asia-Pacific region with emphasis on the importance of regional missile defense. Second, he characterizes the ballistic missile capabilities of North Korea and China, which constitute the primary threat in the region and have spurred increased US and allied pursuit of advanced TMD systems. Third, the author discusses the advantages, country-specific issues and status of cooperative US, Japanese, and South Korean TMD developmental activities. Finally, Colonel Kiziah details some of the complex regional security issues associated with US, Japanese, and South Korean missile defense activities vis-à-vis China and Taiwan; the challenges in ameliorating Chinese concerns; and the prospects of longterm partnering and fielding of a tri-country, integrated regional TMD system.
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