(TOKYO) — U.S. and Japanese officials have agreed to put a second advanced missile defense system in Japan aimed at protecting the country from the threat of a missile attack from North Korea, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says.
Panetta was speaking in Tokyo during his third trip to Asia in eleven months, reflecting the Pentagon’s ongoing shift to put more military focus on the Pacific region.
“The United States and Japan have begun coordination on the future deployment of additional TPY-2 surveillance radar to Japan. The purpose of this is to enhance our ability to defend Japan,” Panetta said.
The exact location of the radar installation has not yet been determined.
Panetta stressed that the system would be aimed at protecting the region against the threat from North Korea, and not directed at China.
“We have made these concerns very clear to the Chinese that North Korea and the use of these ballistic missiles is a threat to our security. We’ve made that very clear, and we’ve also made clear that we will take steps to protect the United States and to protect our allies from that threat. And I will continue to make that point to the Chinese when I have the opportunity to meet with them,” he said.
The long-range rockets North Korea is developing have been test-fired over Japan and could ‘potentially’ reach the U.S. But they’ve been highly inaccurate and unreliable.
The North conducted its latest long-range launch in April, defying a U.N. ban. It was a failure; the rocket disintegrated shortly after take-off.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN