The United States has made it clear that its missile defense cooperation plans in the Pacific Rim are not directed at China and that its defensive systems will not respond unless missiles have been fired.
This was stated by State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland at a routine press briefing in Washington on Thursday.
She was responding to a report in the Wall Street Journal about possible Pentagon plans to put a second X-Band radar in southern Japan to complement the one existing there since 2006. Although Beijing has not formally objected, it did object to the placement of the 2006 siting in Aomori prefecture.
Nuland said the U.S. and China were having regular conversations, "both in our mil-mil dialogue and in our S&ED, with regard to the intentions behind U.S. missile defense work with some of our allies....that these are defensive systems, and that we are quite open and transparent about what we're doing and why."
She clarified that the proposed missile defense was not directed at China, but reflected concerns about the missile threats from North Korea.
"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. And we do have broad dialogue with the Chinese, both in mil-mil channels and in political channels, about the intention," she added.
"Well, obviously, our missile defense plans are the subject of inter-agency planning. We are all involved in it. Again, the Phased Adaptive Approach that we're working on for Asia mirrors the work that we're doing in Europe, the efforts that we have in the Middle East," Nuland told reporters.
On the U.S. missile defense cooperation plans with Gulf countries, Nuland said it was "very much a response to the concerns that those countries could come at risk as Iran develops its capability. But that's separate and apart from any particular concerns this summer. You know that this missile defense work is very long-range, long planned. It takes time to get it up and running. So it's something that's been going on for quite some time, bilaterally and now multilaterally," she added.
by RTT Staff Writer
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