US insists missile defence targets Pyongyang, not Beijing

Beijing/Washington (China Daily/ANN) - Washington's plan to expand an advanced missile-defence 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 defence 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 defence 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 defence work is not directed at China.

"They are designed against a missile threat" from North Korea, she said, adding that the system is a defensive one, and that Washington has told Beijing about it.

"We do have regular conversations with China ... We are quite open and transparent about what it is that we're doing and why," she said at the daily news briefing.

The People's Liberation Army's deputy chief of general staff, General Cai Yingting, started a US visit this week, which follows one in May by Defence Minister Liang Guanglie. It is not clear whether the anti-missile system is being discussed during Cai's visit.

However, China's Ministry of National Defence on Thursday said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal that "China has always believed that anti-missile issues should be handled with great discretion, from the perspective of protecting global strategic stability and promoting strategic mutual trust among all countries.

"We advocate that all parties fully respect and be mindful of the security concerns of one another and try to realize overall safety through mutual benefit and win-win efforts, while avoiding the situation in which one country tries to let its own state security take priority over other countries' national security."

Beijing objected to the first X-Band deployment in Japan in 2006. Moscow also voiced similar concerns about the system in Europe and the Middle East.

"The focus of our rhetoric is (the DPRK)," Steven Hildreth, a missile-defence expert with the Congressional Research Service, an advisory arm of the US Congress, told the Wall Street Journal.

In April, Pyongyang launched a rocket that blew up less than two minutes into its flight.

"The reality is that we're also looking longer-term at the elephant in the room, which is China," Hildreth said.

Jonathan Pollack, Asia-Pacific security expert at the Brookings Institution, said that in theory, this new radar expansion will have the capabilities to go well beyond the defence of Japan.

In order to prevent a major potential escalation of that kind of competition in East Asia, "for this reason alone, I believe there is a pressing priority for the next president of the United States, either President (Barack) Obama or Governor (Mitt) Romney, to open a series of discussions with China about issues of missile defence," he said.

The US presidential election will be in early November, and the winner will be sworn into office on January 20.

Li Qinggong, deputy secretary of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies, said the radar arc can look at missiles launched from coastal area of China.

"The early-warning radar is the key part of an anti-missile system. It can detect a launched missile, as well as determine its trajectory and model.

"It will be like killing a fly with a bazooka if it is used to contain Pyongyang. I believe it is mainly aimed at detecting China's missiles."

The Wall Street Journal report said Washington is concerned over the growing imbalance of power across the Taiwan Straits.

However, Yin Zhuo, a Beijing-based military expert, said "the US won't spend so much energy on Taiwan, to implement ballistic missiles, interceptor missiles and GPS radars everywhere.

"Just a GPS radar costs more than US$1 billion," Yin said, adding that Taiwan is just one of the many considerations in the programme.

"And to "protect" Taiwan is just a move for the US to deal with China, not an ultimate goal."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Appeal for convicted Pinay in Indonesia continues – Palace

    The Aquino government is doing everything possible to save a Filipina facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, a Palace official said yesterday.Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government was moving within Indonesia’s legal framework to spare Mary Jane Veloso from death.Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario continues to exhaust all legal avenues to save Veloso from execution, Valte said.The Indonesian Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the government’s …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Bulacan, Bataan are top Lenten destinations

    MALOLOS, Bulacan – With the expected Holy Week exodus of Catholic devotees to various pilgrimage sites in Bulacan, Bataan and other provinces near Metro Manila, local and provincial officials have coordinated with security and emergency response teams to address the influx of visitors.Among the pilgrimage sites in Bulacan that are often visited by travelers are the Divine Mercy Shrine in the town of Marilao; the procession of saints in Baliwag; the Banal na Bundok with the Stations of the Cross …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR , BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options