News / Asia

Hagel Confirms US Support for Japan, Asian Allies

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks during the closing news conference at a meeting of defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 3, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks during the closing news conference at a meeting of defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 3, 2014.
The head of the U.S. Defense Department says Washington plans to send two more missile defense warships to Japan to counter the threat posed by North Korea's actions.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a news conference in Tokyo Sunday after meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, that two AEGIS missile defense ships will be sent to Japan by 2017, bolstering the U.S. missile defense force to seven ships.

On his second day in Japan, Hagel announced that the United States will increase military support to its Asian ally.

Hagel said, "In response to Pyongyang's pattern of provocative and destabilizing actions, including recent missile launches and violations of recent U.N. security council resolutions, I can announce today that the United States is planning to forward deploy two additional Aegis ballistic missile defense ships to Japan by 2017."

During the most recent flare-up of Korean tensions in late March, North Korea fired shells over South Korean waters close to the North's western coast. South Korea responded and the two countries exchanged hundreds of live shells in just a few hours.

Pyongyang provocations

Recent provocations by North Korea also included the firing of a mid-range missile capable of hitting Japan.

Hagel said, "For the safety of Japan and of eastern Asia, we believe that Japan's Aegis system and the United States' Aegis system is very effective. As the secretary said, that two new ships that are able to respond to ballistic missile threats will be deployed to Japan, this is very important for the region."

Hagel also spoke about China, a country he will visit after leaving Japan.

Relations between China and Japan have hit a low point because of a territorial dispute over islets in resource-rich waters of the East China Sea.

While the U.S. has not sided with any country on the islands' ownership, it acknowledges Japan's de facto management and is treaty-bound to protect Tokyo in case of aggression.

On Sunday, Hagel drew a parallel with Russia's annexation of Crimea, saying, "You cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimation whether it's in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe."

What happened in Ukraine has some resonance in Asia, where China is embroiled in bitter disputes over its maritime boundaries to the East and South.

Concerns about China

Countries like the Philippines and Japan have raised concerns about Beijing's increasingly assertive stance in stating its territorial claims.

Hagel called China a great power, but said the country should respect its neighbors, be more transparent about its military power and refrain from coercion and intimidation.

"With this power, comes new and wider responsibilities is that how you use that power, how do you employ that military power," said Hagel. "And I want to talk with Chinese about all of that particularity transparency. This is a key dimension of relationships. "

The defense secretary will depart for Beijing on Monday.

Analysts in China say the territorial disputes are likely to come up during Hagel's visit, as are military cooperation and measures to deal with North Korea.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid