- Title: JAPAN: Surveillance planes continue to take off from U.S. bases in southern Japan
- Date: 31st May 2009
- Summary: KADENA, JAPAN (MAY 30, 2009) (REUTERS) WIDE OF KADENA AIRFORCE BASE TARMAC VARIOUS OF AIRFORCE PERSONEL CHECKING THE TARMAC VARIOUS OF E-3 SURVEILLANCE AIRCRAFT WITH AN AWACS (AIRBORNE WARNING AND CONTROL SYSTEM) ATOP TAKING OFF ANOTHER TYPE OF SURVEILLANCE PLANE RC-135S COBRA BALL TAKING OFF VARIOUS OF COBRA BALL TAKING OFF
- Embargoed: 15th June 2009 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: International Relations,Defence / Military
- Reuters ID: LVA5B6Y8YT8WXWIWIVY941GXVGBI
- Story Text: Surveillance planes continued take off from Kadena U.S. airforce base in Okinawa, southern Japan on Saturday (May 30) following reports from South Korea that Pyongyang may be preparing to move an intercontinental ballistic missile to a launch site.
At least one sentry E-3 aircraft fitted with an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and a RC-135s Cobra Ball surveillance plane were seen taking off early in the morning from Kadena Airbase.
Kadena is the hub of airpower in the Pacific, and home to the Air Force's largest combat wing--the 18th Wing.
The factory north of Pyongyang is the same place where the North manufactured the long-range rocket it fired on April 5 before moving it to the east-coast Musudan-ri missile range for assembly and launch, the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said.
Regional powers are waiting to see what the North might do next after it conducted a nuclear test on Monday (May 25). South Korea is on alert on the assessment Pyongyang may make provocative moves using conventional weapons at their heavily armed border.
North Korea has warned of an intercontinental ballistic missile test in anger over U.N. Security Council punishment of what Pyongyang said was a satellite launch on April 5.
North Korea fired a short-range missile on Friday from the Musudan-ri missile base, South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed government source as saying. The missile appeared to be a modified surface-to-air missile with a range of up to 160 km (99 miles).
The two Koreas have fought two deadly naval clashes on their disputed maritime border in the past 10 years and the North has warned another could happen.
U.S. Defence Department spokesman Geoff Morrell said on Friday there had been no sign of stepped-up North Korean military activity.
But a U.S. defence official said the United States had observed "above average activity" in the past 24 hours at a site in North Korea that has previously been used to test fire long-range missiles.
South Korea's Defence Ministry said it had seen the number of Chinese fishing boats near the peninsula in the Yellow Sea drop sharply in recent days and is watching the North's activities for indications of aggression.
Defence ministers of South Korea, Japan and the United States are meeting in Singapore on Saturday to discuss responses to North Korea's further provocations, South Korea's defence ministry said.
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