A military spokesman yesterday refused to comment on media reports alleging that two advanced anti-missile systems — the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) and Tien Kung-III “Sky Bow” (TK-III) air defense systems — had been deployed in eastern Taiwan to deal with the possible launch of a North Korean rocket later this month.
Ministry of National Defense spokesperson David Lo (羅紹和) said the military was collecting information about Pyongyang’s anticipated rocket launch and added that the military had requested its anti-missile units monitor and respond to the situation as appropriate.
However, Lo refused to comment on whether PAC-3 missiles and TK-III firing units were deployed in the east to meet that contingency.
“Military deployments are confidential, so the military does not comment on such matters,” he said.
Asked during a recent legislative meeting to comment on the plans by the military to deal with the North Korean launch, Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) had said that “if Japan’s PAC-3 was able to intercept the satellite debris, our PAC-3 could surely intercept it too.”
Pyongyang has said it will launch a satellite into orbit between April 12 and April 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, saying the launch was for peaceful purposes. The US, Japan and other countries suspect it is a disguised missile test.
Japan’s military has said its surface-to-air missiles would be deployed on Okinawa, underneath the rocket’s forecast flight path, and in central Tokyo, adding that Aegis destroyers equipped with missile defense systems will also be deployed near Okinawa.