US arms exporters explode over missile threat
Tuesday 15 April 1997
As the long-range missile threat grows, a number of countries are showing interest in Russian anti-missile defence systems, but the US would prefer them to buy its Patriot anti-missiles instead. The US, which wants to keep the Patriot production line running, has put heavy-handed pressure on South Korea and the United Arab Emirates not to buy Russian.
The Russians, the world's third biggest arms sellers, are desperate to sell high-tech weapons for hard currency to ease their chronic debt and oil-rich Middle Eastern states and tiger economies like South Korea are good customers. The US, the world's biggest arms seller (Britain is number two) does not like the idea for economic and strategic reasons.
Japan's Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda yesterday told a Parliamentary Committee there were unconfirmed reports that North Korea had deployed some of its Nodong-1 ballistic missiles on mobile launchers. On Friday Japanese television reported US spy satellites had spotted three Nodong- 1s in positions on North Korea's eastern coast. With a range of 1,000km (625 miles), the missiles can hit targets across most of Japan and all South Korea.
Two weeks ago Israel claimed that Iran tested an engine for a long-range missile with an estimated range of 1,500km (950 miles). The Russians deny they were involved, although Israeli officials say they believe Russian SS-4 missile parts have been transferred to Iran.
North Korea has denied it is developing a nuclear warhead for Nodong, but missiles of this type are not very accurate and, apart from harassment, only make sense with weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, biological or chemical - as warheads. For this reason, states which are potential targets take these missile developments very seriously.
The only nations currently able to build anti-ballistic missile systems are the US and Russia. The US has helped Israel develop a new anti-missile, called Arrow, but its deployment is still some years off. There is no large-scale US involvement in Arrow, but in the interim the US, and the US missile firm Raytheon, want to sell as many Patriots as possible.
South Korea has indicated that it was interested in buying the Russian S300V (Nato codename SA-12 Gladiator) system, but has come under heavy pressure from the US which has warned that US aircraft would be at risk from a Russian-built system which was incompatible with US identification systems. UAE, too, has come under criticism for expressing interest in the SA-12.
Missile experts yesterday said the US objection that the missiles might be a danger to their own planes was nonsense. "They've operated in Egyptian airspace for years", said Christopher Foss, editor of Jane's Land-Based Air Defence. Egypt is one of many Middle Eastern states which have operated Soviet or Russian systems for decades.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...