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US insists missile defense targets DPRK, not China

By Li Xiaokun and Tan Yingzi (China Daily)

09:46, August 25, 2012

Washington's plan to expand an advanced missile-defense system in Asia is directed at Pyongyang, not Beijing, the US State Department said on Thursday.

However, military experts in both the United States and China questioned the US' intentions, saying the expensive system, which is well beyond Pyongyang’s military capability, is actually "looking at China".

The Chinese military also called for the US to handle anti-missile issues with great discretion and avoid "letting its own state security take priority over other countries’ national security".

The Wall Street Journal’s front-page story on Thursday talked about Pentagon plans to put a second X-Band early-warning radar in southern Japan to complement one that has been in the country’s north since 2006.

It said the US military has also been evaluating sites in Southeast Asia for a third X-Band radar to create an arc that would allow the US and its regional allies to "more accurately track any ballistic missiles launched from (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), as well as from parts of China".

Some US defense officials said the Philippines, which is at odds with China on territorial issues, is a potential site for the third radar.

Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed later on Thursday that the US is in discussions with Japan on the issue.

"It’s certainly a topic of conversation because missile defense is important to both of our nations," Dempsey said at the start of a meeting with his visiting Japanese counterpart, Shigeru Iwasaki, at the Pentagon.

Victoria Nuland, a spokesperson for the US State Department, said on Thursday the missile defense work is not directed at China.

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