WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --
Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy
Alliance (MDAA), www.missiledefenseadvocacy.org,
has been observing the current situation involving North and South
Korea which developed last week and has offered his comments. Ellison is
one of the foremost experts in the field of missile defense in the
world. His observations are the following:
tensions between the two countries erupted last week as North Korea used
artillery to strike Yeonpyeong Island in South Korean territory,
killing four and destroying parts of a civilian city. This unilateral
military strike followed a torpedo attack linked to North Korea that
sank a South Korean Naval ship, Cheonan, and killed forty-six sailors
nine months ago. Underpinning this inflammatory situation is North
Korea's nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and overwhelming artillery
placements that could level Seoul, the capital of South Korea, located
just twenty miles from the 38th parallel.
"To date China, the
United States and South Korea have not been successful with diplomacy,
sanctions or condemnation in preventing, dissuading or deterring these
belligerent and aggressive actions. They have however been successful in
preventing and restraining South Korean military reaction to the loss
of fifty South Korean lives and destruction of their territory over the
past nine months. That success is becoming more tenuous to maintain.
Korea is led by an aging and ill leader, Kim Jong-il. It is perceived
by internal leadership as a weak country in the region; vulnerable for
adversaries to exploit as the regime attempts to transition power to the
leader's son, General Kim Jong-un. Within North Korea and externally in
the region, a demonstrated, aggressive show of military force hides the
weakness of the regime and sends a message of strength during its
period of transition.
"To show commitment to South Korea and the
region, the United States recently concluded joint military exercises
with South Korea off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. These exercises
lasted four days and involved 7,000 personnel and the George Washington
Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) consisting of eleven ships including the
Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington
(CVN-73) and three Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (Aegis BMD) capable
Destroyers (DDG 82, DDG 63, DDG 62) as well as wings of fighter aircraft
and ships from South Korea. Tomorrow, the largest joint military
exercises between the U.S. and Japan are being conducted in the seas
between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. This further displays the
regional and United States resolve for peace and stability on the Korean
"There is no greater show of force and resolve to its
allies than a United States Carrier Strike Group in a region of
instability and tensions. Restraint and assurance to South Korea is a
delicate line of balance which the United States is attempting to
provide on all levels. A serious and daunting challenge, as provocation
is the trigger that North Korea desires to further its policy of showing
force for survival.
"It is with the belief in our nation's war
fighters in the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) and the U.S. Korea Command
(KORCOM), that the deployment of missile defense capability in South
Korea, in the shape of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and its
Patriot batteries and the Aegis BMD capable ships of the 7th Fleet
deployed around the Korean Peninsula, continues to deter North Korean
use or threat of their ballistic missiles during this time of tension.
While there is a great need for more missile defense assets in the
region, some satisfaction can be taken in the decisions that have been
made to have a limited missile defense capability in place in and around
Korea; rather than having no defense against the large ballistic
missile force of North Korea. This includes South Korea's decision to
have its own Patriot Fire Units deployed.
"In a state of peace
today, the Korean Peninsula is on the brink of war if we as a region
cannot work in combination through a show of resolve, force, diplomacy,
protection and sanctions to deescalate the current tension on the 38th
parallel that was created sixty years ago.
"Missile defense remains a vital part for restraint and assurance to South Korea, Japan and our allies.
"Missile defense remains absolutely critical for the protection of our 35,000 armed forces stationed in South Korea."