US mulls early-warning radar for Japan

2012-08-24 09:01
Sea Based X-Band Radar (AFP, File)

Sea Based X-Band Radar (AFP, File)

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Washington - The US military is looking at deploying a new early-warning radar to Japan to help counter possible missile threats from North Korea, a US official said on Thursday.

"This is an idea under consideration. It makes sense given the threat posed by North Korea," the US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

"But no final decisions have been made," the official added.

An American X-band radar is already in place in northern Japan, at Shariki base in Tsugaru City, on the coast of Aomori prefecture.

Discussions for a possible additional radar come amid concern over North Korea's efforts to develop a long-range missile as well as US worries over China's investment in anti-ship missiles.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters that the United States has told China that its missile defence work was not directed at the rising Asian power.

US military presence

"These are defensive systems. They don't engage unless missiles have been fired. And in the case of the Asian systems, they are designed to defend against a missile threat from North Korea. They are not directed at China," she said.

The Pentagon is looking to bolster the US military's presence in the Asia-Pacific region and missile defence systems, both sea and land-based, are a crucial part of the strategy.

A Pentagon spokesperson declined to comment on the X-band radar or where in Japan it might be deployed.

"Japan is one of the United States' most significant international missile defence partners. We conduct regular alliance consultations on ways we can enhance and deepen our missile defence co-operation to address the growing threat of ballistic missiles in the region," said Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart in an e-mail.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the possible radar deployment in its Thursday edition.

Read more on:    us  |  china  |  japan  |  north korea
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