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US to send two more anti-missile ships to Japan to counter North Korea: Hagel

Published on Apr 6, 2014 10:08 AM
United States Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel (left) and Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera shake hands before a meeting at the defence ministry in Tokyo on April 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - The United States plans to send two more missile defence warships to Japan to counter the threat posed by North Korea's "provocative" actions, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said on Sunday.

"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 defence ships to Japan by 2017," Mr Hagel told a joint news conference in Tokyo after talks with his Japanese counterpart, Itsunori Onodera.

The US ships would join five missile defence vessels already stationed in Japan.

North Korea last month test fired two medium-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan. Tokyo has reportedly ordered its forces to destroy any North Korean ballistic missiles that pass through its airspace, and has deployed its own Aegis vessel to the Sea of Japan.

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