Report: As US turns to Asia, missile defence expansion planned

Breaking News August 24, 2012 00:00

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Washington - The United States is charting its expansion of missile defence capability across Asia, with one installation to be possibly located on an unnamed southern Japanese island, according to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

An additional site was being considered for South-East Asia, possibly the Philippines, according to unnamed US defence officials quoted in the story.

The United States has had a so-called X-Band - a powerful early-warning radar - in Japan's northern Aomori prefecture since 2006, which China has strongly objected to. The three X-Band facilities would form an arc of warning capability.

While Pentagon press secretary George Little told the newspaper that the expansion of missile defence in Asia was prompted by the "immediate threat" of North Korea, the growing military presence of China is also a consideration.

One of US President Barack Obama's major foreign policy initiatives is turning Washington towards Asia in order to bolster military and trade ties. China earlier this year increased its military budget by 11.2 per cent.

The expanded missile defence system would be similar to the one now being built in Europe to defend against attacks from Iran.

A powerful radar facility has already been installed in south-eastern Turkey, with the command centre at Ramstein Air Base in Germany communicating to US missile carriers in the Mediterranean. Ground-based missiles are to be installed in Poland and Romania.

The expanded radar system in Asia would be coordinated with missiles on land and sea. The US is already in talks with Japan over the plans.//DPA


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