Skip to main content

U.S. to send 2 more missile defense ships to Japan to protect from North Korea

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian, CNN
updated 8:20 AM EDT, Mon April 7, 2014
The Navy is planning to forward-deploy two additional AEGIS ballistic missile defense ships to Japan by 2017. Shown here is the USS Lake Erie, an example of that kind of ship.
The Navy is planning to forward-deploy two additional AEGIS ballistic missile defense ships to Japan by 2017. Shown here is the USS Lake Erie, an example of that kind of ship.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Defense Secretary says U.S. will send 2 more missile defense ships
  • Move is part of an effort to bolster protection from N.Korean missile threats
  • Chuck Hagel is on visit to Tokyo, to travel to Beijing

(CNN) -- The United States will send more missile defense ships to Japan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday, as part of an effort to bolster protection from North Korean missile threats.

North Korea has carried out a series of missile launches in recent weeks and has warned it was preparing to test another nuclear device, prompting fresh criticism from the United States.

Speaking during a visit to Tokyo, Hagel announced that two Navy destroyers equipped with missile defense systems would be deployed to Japan by 2017.

"A key focus for our talks today was the threat posed by North Korea," Hagel told reporters after he met with Japan's defense and foreign ministers.

"In response to Pyongyang's pattern of provocative and destabilizing actions, including recent missile launches in violation of UN 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. This will bring our Japan-based fleet of BMD-capable ships to a total of seven."

The announcement followed other steps taken by the Pentagon to bolster its military posture in Japan, including an October decision to establish a second missile defense radar site in Kyoto prefecture.

"These steps will greatly enhance our ability to defend both Japan and the U.S. homeland from North Korean ballistic missile threats," Hagel said.

South Korea investigates two suspected North Korean drones

"Great power"

Hagel also addressed territorial disputes between China and its neighbors.

Relations between China and Japan are under strain over a territorial row involving a set of small, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which has led to frequent tense encounters between the two sides' ships and planes in recent times.

"Great powers have great responsibilities, and China is a great power," Hagel said.

"And with this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how do you employ that military power. And I want to talk with the Chinese about all of that. Particularly, transparency ... The more transparent and open governments can be with each other, the better for everyone. That avoids miscalculation, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and hopefully that lowers the risks of conflict."

Hagel leaves for Beijing on Monday.

CNN's Marie-Louise Gumuchian contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:31 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
updated 1:28 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
updated 11:20 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Groping, lewd comments, and that's not the worst of it.
updated 9:33 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
British hostage John Cantlie appears from the battle city of Kobani.
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 7:06 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT