USA approves anti-ballistic missile sale to Japan amid North Korea threat

This was the 27th consecutive kill of a test ICBM by the Aegis system.

The announcement comes amid the much anticipated high-level talks between the Koreas on Tuesday.

The State Department on Tuesday asked Congress to approve the $133 million sale of the four missiles and related hardware, which can be launched from destroyers at sea or from a land-based system.

Japan's missile defence is planned to be strengthened by equipping the Aegis systems with a new type of SM3 Block2A missile, the range of which is nearly three times higher than those of the SM3.

North Korea's Hwasong-15 ICBM reached an altitude of about 4,475 km (2,780 miles) and flew 950 km (590 miles) during its 53-minute flight before coming down within 200 nautical miles of Japan on November 29, 2017.

Last month, Japan's cabinet approved a plan to buy two US-built Aegis missile defense systems, state broadcaster NHK reported, as the country faces increasing hostility from neighboring North Korea.

The Japanese government will likely deploy a new missile intercept system on two new Aegis-equipped destroyers that is capable of exchanging data between the warships, a Japanese news outlet reports Thursday.

The Aegis system is geared towards intermediate range ballistic missiles.

North Korea continued its nuclear advances despite condemnation from the global community. ICBMs travel higher and faster and are more hard to counteract.

Japan's defense chief said he did not discuss expenses for introducing Aegis Ashore in detail with Greaves, but sensed an effort from the reduce costs.

The missile deal follows a year of ramped-up North Korean missile launches, some of them over Japanese territory, and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

According to a Pentagon statement issued on Monday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera "condemned North Korea's reckless and unlawful behavior", while talking on phone. "Without giving in to any provocative action, we must change the North Korea's policy by maximizing the pressure in complete solidarity with the global community".