Los Angeles, CA — Earlier this week, the North Koreans in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718 fired and tested three ballistic missiles. This is the third such violation by North Korea in the last month. This action of international defiance comes on the eve of the UN inspections team to the nuclear facility at Yongbyon.
This demonstration of defiance by North Korea should not, and can not, be seen as intimidation and a threat to the five nations of Japan, South Korea, Russia, China and the United States.
We as a member of the six-party talks and as a member of the United Nations can not solely depend on international agreements and sanctions for the protection of our nation and our allies. Missile defense is paramount to ensure the protection of millions of lives in instances such as these. We have to have an effective missile defense system that protects the East Asia-Pacific region from the threat of North Korea.
Our nation does not have enough missile defense systems in place to give us, our allies and our armed forces adequate protection against the arsenal of North Koreas ballistic missiles. Currently, we have 7 Aegis ships deployed with less than 20 interceptors. Most of them are not deployed in the Sea of Japan. It is not enough.
Amidst this crisis, our country continues to demonstrate effective missile defense systems using both sensors and interceptors that can counter ballistic missiles from North Korea. This past Tuesday, the THAAD had its 6th successful test. Last Friday, June 22nd, the Aegis had its 9th successful intercept. Both of these systems have been over 80 percent successful in their testing programs. Along with the Patriot system, our country needs to acquire and deploy these systems much faster than the current pace which is very limited and costly. Currently, our country spends about 2 percent of our defense budget on missile defense, and those funds are used for research, development and deployment.
Furthermore, investment is needed in future systems to ensure the technical advantage they offer can counter quantitative ballistic missile advantages by a country such as North Korea.
Having an effective missile defense system, in numbers and technical superiority, allows the United States to offer extended deterrence to countries such as Japan and South Korea that are most directly threatened by the defiance of North Korea.
We hope and expect that President Bush and President Putin address and work to defuse North Korea’s actions this weekend in Kenneport, Maine. Openness for cooperation of missile defense between the two countries is to be commended as it will ensure public safety from regimes such as North Korea and Iran that continue proliferation of both missile and nuclear technology.