US to sell Japan $133M in missiles to counter North Korea threat

US to sell Japan $133M in missiles to counter North Korea threat
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The State Department plans to sell Japan more than $133 million worth of missiles and equipment to push back against North Korea’s “provocative behavior,” the department told Congress on Tuesday.

The new proposed foreign military sale includes four Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles, missile canisters and “other technical, engineering and logistics support services,” estimated to be worth $133.3 million.

The sale comes after a year of heightened concern over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, including several missile launches that landed in the Sea of Japan.

The SM-3 Block IIA is an anti-ballistic missile that can be fired from ships or on land, using the AEGIS Ashore program, a U.S.-made, land-based missile defense system.

If approved, the missile deal would “follow through on President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-ethics chief calls on Trump to end 'monstrous' migrant policies Laura Bush blasts Trump migrant policy as 'cruel' and 'immoral' US denies report of coalition airstrike on Syria MORE’s commitment to provide additional defensive capabilities to treaty allies threatened by the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s] provocative behavior,” the State Department said in a statement, referring to North Korea’s official name. 

A State Department official said in a statement that the sale will also “contribute to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States by enhancing Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force’s (JMSDF) ability to defend Japan and the Western Pacific from ballistic missile threats.”

Japan already has Aegis capability on four warships, and last month formally approved the purchase of two Aegis Ashore batteries. The sites will likely cost at least $2 billion without the missiles, and won’t be operational until 2023 at the earliest.

Lockheed Martin makes Aegis Ashore, while Raytheon and BAE Systems make the SM-3.