July 9, 2006 in Nation/World

Guided missile destroyer docking in Japan ‘routine’

Hans Greimel Associated Press
 

TOKYO – A new U.S. guided missile destroyer docked in Japan on Saturday amid tensions over North Korea’s missile tests, but the military said the arrival was routine and had been planned months ago.

The USS Mustin sailed into the port of Yokosuka, home to the Navy’s 7th Fleet, with a crew of 300 for permanent assignment to the region.

The Mustin, commissioned in 2003, is one of the most advanced in the fleet. The 509-foot ship carries surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Its deployment to Yokosuka was previously planned and not in response to North Korea’s missile tests, the Navy said.

Pyongyang stunned the region Wednesday by test-firing seven missiles.

In August, Yokosuka also will welcome the USS Shiloh, which last month demonstrated its ability to shoot down missile warheads in a landmark test off Hawaii. The Shiloh is replacing the USS Chancellorsville.

Both the Mustin and the Shiloh are equipped with radar systems that employ Aegis technology, which is geared toward tracking and shooting down enemy missiles. The system was instrumental in identifying and assessing Wednesday’s launchings in which all the missiles apparently fell into the Sea of Japan.

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