Friday, August 24, 2012

US: Missile defense for North Korea threat, not China

WASHINGTON — The United States is in discussions with close ally Japan about expanding a missile defense system in Asia, the top U.S. general said Thursday.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was commenting on a Wall Street Journal report that the U.S. is discussing positioning an early warning radar in southern Japan, supplementing one already in place in the country's north, to contain threats from North Korea and to counter China's military.

The State Department, however, said the missile defense system is not directed against China.

Dempsey said no decisions have been reached on expanding the radar.

"But it's certainly a topic of conversation because missile defense is important to both of our nations," Dempsey told reporters at the start of a meeting with his visiting Japanese counterpart, Gen. Shigeru Iwasaki, at the Pentagon.

Japan has worked closely with the U.S. for several years on missile defense, and has both land- and sea-based missile launchers. Read More