US department of Defense has deployed high-tech sea-based X-band radar to look out for a North Korean long-range-missile launch in the coming months.
The deployment of sea-based X-band radar (SB-X) is the first US military response to North Korea’s threat that it could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The radar is able to track the long-range launches and provide crucial data.
The Sea-based, X-band Radar (SBX 1) transits the waters of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, CNN reported today.
Generally the SB-X is sent north of Hawaii and stationed about halfway to Alaska for the optimum spot to track a potential North Korean missile launch headed for Alaska, Guam or the West Coast of the US. Additional surveillance assets are also being identified to monitor activity on the Korean Peninsula.
Defense officials have stressed that if North Korea were to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, it might not be shot down by a US missile defense system.
"If the missile's threatening, it will be intercepted. If it's not threatening, we won't necessarily do so," Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters Tuesday.
"It may be more to our advantage to, first of all, save our interceptor inventory, and, second, to gather intelligence from the flight rather than do that (shoot it down) when it's not threatening." Carter added.
"The SB-X radar will increase the US ability to collect that type of missile data," North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently said the test launch of an ICBM is in its final stages.
However, US still does not believe that North Korea has gained mastery over the technology required for the missile to reenter the atmosphere. “There have been launches of three-stage long-range rockets with a satellite on the front end being boosted into space. The two technologies are very similar, but it is re-entry of the warhead that has not yet been demonstrated,” US officials said.
On Wednesday, the US Treasury froze all US property interests and assets belonging to seven North Korean government officials. The Treasury imposed the sanctions because North Korea continues to engage in grave human rights abuses and actively uses censorship policies to conceal those abuses.
Most of the seven sanctioned North Koreans on the blacklist work in top-level security and prison operations. They include Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong -- Vice Director of the Korean Workers' Party Propaganda and Agitation Department.
The Treasury further sanctioned the State Planning Commission and the Ministry of Labor, slamming the two government bodies for coordinating forced labor -- including in North Korean mines.
This is the second time the US has imposed human rights sanctions on Kim's government, after blacklisting Kim and other top officials in July.