U.S. to Deploy Medium-Range Missile System in Indo-Pacific; Aiming to Strengthen Deterrence Against China

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Gen. Charles Flynn, U.S. Army Pacific commanding general, speaks at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The U.S. military plans to deploy medium-range missiles in the Indo-Pacific region, Gen. Charles Flynn, U.S. Army Pacific commanding general, said in an interview with Japanese media during his visit to Tokyo on Wednesday.

“Working with our allies and partners in the region and working together with the various joint exercises that we do have, those [missiles] will be introduced to the region soon,” Flynn said at the U.S. Embassy in Japan.

The aim is to strengthen deterrence against China, which is expanding its military preparations. Regarding the modernization of China’s missile capabilities, Flynn said that finding ways to counter it is a vitally important role for the army.

Flynn declined to name specifics, but it is believed that the United States intends to deploy the Typhon missile system, which is capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles and SM-6 multi-mission anti-aircraft missiles from ground-based vehicles.

The United States had previously been prohibited from possessing ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers until 2019, when the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia expired.

Meanwhile, China is rapidly acquiring ground-launched intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which are capable of reaching the Nansei Islands and Taiwan, making it imperative for the U.S. military to close the missile gap with China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Flynn said he has been closely watching China’s modernization and reorganization, training, and the scale of their exercises for a decade. He said the “trajectory that it has been on for the last 10 years is a dangerous one.

“And, so I think that we should do all we can to find ways to work as partners, allies and friends across the region to prevent that kind of behavior from growing, expanding and becoming more insidious.”