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11:57 AM, June 28, 2016
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Three sides will mobilize their Aegis-equipped destroyers for the exercise that will be conducted based on a scenario where a North Korean missile has been fired.

South Korea, the United States and Japan will carry out their first-ever joint missile defense exercise in Hawaii, Wednesday, to deal more effectively with North Korea's growing nuclear and ballistic missile threats, the South’s Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday.

The trilateral missile defense exercise will take place on the side-lines of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, or RIMPAC, the world's largest U.S.-led international maritime warfare exercise, to be held from June to August around the U.S. islands.

The joint exercise involving three countries comes after the North's self-proclaimed successful launch of a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) on June 22.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis confirmed that the Musudan ballistic missile reached space and then re-entered Earth's atmosphere, saying the launch would be a success if Pyongyang had designed the test that way.

"We saw the missile launch. We saw it go up into space and come back down 250 miles away in the Sea of Japan. If that was their intent, then it was a success. But you'd have to ask them," he said.

South Korean Defense official was quoted as saying by The Korean Times that the three sides will mobilize their Aegis-equipped destroyers (one each) for the exercise that will be conducted based on a scenario where a North Korean missile has been fired.

An official said on the condition of anonymity, "The exercise focuses on the intelligence dealings required to detect and track the North's potential missile launches, and will not involve the interception phase."

The scope of the exercise will be limited to the framework of the three countries' intelligence-sharing pact on the North's nuclear and missile capabilities, the official noted, adding that plans to make it a regular drill have not been discussed.

The three countries signed a trilateral pact at the end of 2014 to share sensitive information about the North's nuclear and missile programs.

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