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US sending 2 warships to Japan to counter N. Korea

TOKYO (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations Sunday, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbors.

In unusually forceful remarks about China, Hagel drew a direct line between Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region and the ongoing territorial disputes between China, Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea.

"I think we're seeing some clear evidence of a lack of respect and intimidation and coercion in Europe today with what the Russians have done with Ukraine," Hagel told reporters after a meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. "We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all nations of the world, that in the 21st century this will not stand, you cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation whether it's in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe."

Hagel, who will travel to China later this week, called the Asian nation a "great power," and added, "with this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how you employ that military power."

He said he will talk to the Chinese about having respect for their neighbors, and said, "coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict. All nations, all people deserve respect no matter how large or how small."

Still, he said he looks forward to having an honest, straightforward dialogue with the Chinese to talk about ways the two nations and their militaries can work better together.

The announcement of the deployments of additional destroyers to Japan came as tensions with North Korea spiked again, with Pyongyang continuing to threaten additional missile and nuclear tests.

In recent weeks the North has conducted a series of rocket and ballistic missile launches that are considered acts of protest against annual ongoing springtime military exercises by Seoul and Washington. North Korea says the exercises are rehearsals for invasion.

North and South Korea also fired hundreds of artillery shells into each other's waters in late March in the most recent flare-up.

Standing alongside Onodera at the defense ministry, Hagel said they discussed the threat posed by Pyongyang. He said the two ships are in response to North Korea's "pattern of provocative and destabilizing actions" that violate U.N. resolutions and also will provide more protection to the U.S. from those threats.

On Friday, North Korea accused the U.S. of being "hell-bent on regime change" and warned that any maneuvers with that intention will be viewed as a "red line" that will result in countermeasures. Pyongyang's deputy U.N. ambassador, Ri Tong Il, also said his government "made it very clear we will carry out a new form of nuclear test" but refused to provide details.

The two additional ships would bring the total to seven U.S. ballistic missile defense warships in Japan, and it continues U.S. efforts to increase its focus on the Asia Pacific.

The ships serve as both defensive and offensive weapons. They carry sophisticated systems that can track missile launches, and their SM-3 missiles can zero in on and take out short- to medium-range missiles that might be fired at U.S. or allied nations. They can also carry Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can be launched from sea and hit high-value targets or enemy weapons systems from afar, without risking pilots or aircraft.

Hagel is on a 10-day trip across the Asia Pacific, and just spent three days in Hawaii meeting with Southeast Asian defense ministers, talking about efforts to improve defense and humanitarian assistance cooperation. Japan is his second stop, where he said he wants to assure Japanese leaders that the U.S. is strongly committed to protecting their country's security.

Japan and China have been engaged in a long, bitter dispute over remote islands in the East China Sea. The U.S. has said it takes no side on the question of the disputed islands' sovereignty, but it recognizes Japan's administration of them and has responsibilities to protect Japanese territory under a mutual defense treaty.

Onodera said he and Hagel talked about the islands, known as Senkaku by Japan and Diayou by China, and the concerns about any changes to the status quo there.

Hagel said the U.S. wants the countries in the region to resolve the disputes peacefully. But he added that the United States would honor its treaty commitments.

The ships are just the latest move in America's effort to beef up Japan's defenses. Last October, the U.S. and Japan agreed to broad plans to expand their defense alliance, including the decision to position a second early warning radar there by the end of this year. There is one in northern Japan and the second one would be designed to provide better missile defense coverage in the event of a North Korean attack.

The U.S. will begin sending long-range Global Hawk surveillance drones to Japan this month for rotational deployments. They are intended to help step up surveillance around the Senkaku islands.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
invisibleman1515 April 06 2014 at 8:14 PM

lots of crazy things going on in the world (Syria, Israel, Iraq Russia, N Korea, China etc...) Not the time to cut defense spending, instead it is the time to leave the budget the way it is and spend the money wisely (i.e. not pandering to various defense contractors who have half of our politicians in their pockets).

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1 reply
larry invisibleman1515 April 06 2014 at 8:48 PM

There's lots of crazy things going on right in the white house and with our government. 2016 cannot get her soon enough.

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Anthony April 06 2014 at 10:44 AM

Being a vet I have seen from the inside what the military can and can not do. Our so called allies are always secretly thinking of of ways to undermine the U.S. But as a super power if we collapse so will the rest of the world!!! The president has power, that we all know, but he is still on a need to know basis. ALL AMERICANS NEED TO BAND TOGETHER!!!!

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2 replies
Meh... Anthony April 06 2014 at 10:56 AM

AMEN brother. If people spent half the time working together towards making this country better as they do tearing each other apart and complaining about everything, we might actually be the strong superpower everyone else believes we are. You hit the nail right on the head.

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1 reply
Meh... Meh... April 06 2014 at 2:29 PM

Mickylitz2 No. In order for everyone to band together everyone must stop freaking judging everyone else and keep their noses in their own business. As long as everyone is trying to tell everyone else how to live their lives there will always be arguments. It is much easier to judge and complain than to actually let go of your petty differences and work together. Although there are a fair number of people out there who take advantage of all our government has to offer those in need, they do not represent ALL the people in need. You can't just lump everyone who needs help in with those who thrive on ******* from the system. If you separate those people out, they do NOT trump the makers.

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abeyasha Anthony April 06 2014 at 11:16 AM

Obama, guided by the occultic Hillary & Panetta, with a Military contingent paid honors to the land of his "Strange god'" even its gods, an act, amounting to selling the soul of a nation, spiritually called "trading the names for numbers," then came back & hurriedly inducted the "Sodomite Agenda" into the US. Military. Lo, The enemy is within you.

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1 reply
Meh... abeyasha April 06 2014 at 2:33 PM

Nothing you just said makes a bit of sense. The comment you are speaking on was referring to all Americans working together. Nothing you said even slightly resembles an argument, agreement, or suggested edit of that comment.

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molly2peaches April 06 2014 at 5:34 PM

A spit of uninhabited rock off the Taiwan coast belongs to Japan because of a US clerical error decades ago and now to back up a testosterone feud between two other countries on the other side of the world, we will back up that mistake to the last man. PAR.

In five weeks Russia will have 3 new oblasti: Lugusk, Donetsk and Kharkov.

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Garland April 06 2014 at 9:46 AM

treaties are broken all the time and will be again. every country has broken treaties. The u.s first obligation is to the citizens of the u.s. period. who are the people that put us in this situation, by making treaties in the first place. nukes are a thing of the past. that is why we dont care if they have them or not.. it is smoke and mirriors to keep the u.s. citizens in line. probably another way of takiing more of our liberties. a war in any other country is better than a war in the u.s.. countries have no sovereignty anymore with global economy. If we do have another war we need to get it right this time. get rid of governments that surpress their people and put the forgein aid in their pockets.

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TERRY April 06 2014 at 4:57 PM

Get 'em! Blow that bastard in North Korea to kingdom come!

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IRVING April 06 2014 at 10:59 AM

The Japanese have never respected the Chinese or the Koreans, north and south. The Chinese and Koreans also know that Japan is no country to mess with. They understand the absurd Asian face saving credo and know just how far to prod. The two warships that we are sending should be just enough for someone to back down if it came to that. Some one in our government is finally thinking.

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2 replies
pennyuniv IRVING April 06 2014 at 11:07 AM

Do you think they really care what Obama thinks. He hasn't done anything yet. All talk and no do.

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1 reply
geocur3971 pennyuniv April 06 2014 at 11:25 AM

How about creating 195,000 jobs this month, for 'something'? Or paying down the national debt at a faster rate than has happened in the past 10 years?

It is, indeed, odd that people such as you can be strongly negatively critical -- or try to be; most off your efforts are, to put it kindly, a bit clumsy --in the very face of statistics that put your criticisms immediately in strong doubt.

Perhaps not so odd, as outright RACIST.

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debnaert IRVING April 06 2014 at 11:18 AM

CHINESE HATE THE JAPS..... read your history about the Japs and what they did to the Chinese.

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spike April 06 2014 at 10:06 PM

The only country Kim can seriously hurt is South Korea.Japan will kick your ass.If you attack south Korea NATO will kick your ass. Behave your self Kim ,or you will be destroyed.

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1 reply
gmgpjandon spike April 06 2014 at 10:19 PM

Now that would a ROE I could believe in . Course, it's doubtful it would ever be used. Too much common sense involved.

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Jim April 06 2014 at 11:08 AM

Japan is an industrial powerhouse. Although its economy has been less than stellar, it is certainly capable of its own defense. But the U. S. tax payer is expected to foot the bill for Japan's defense of uninhabited islands in the middle of nowhere. North Korea? The dividing line between North and South Korea proceeds along the 38th parallel until the line reaches the Korean Sea. Then the line juts to the North, putting the disputed islands in South Korean territory, when the islands are clearly North of the 38th parallel. North Korea indicated that this would be a problem at the time of the cessation of hostilities. To no avail. So the area remains a flashpoint to this day. Do we need another flashpoint with North Korea?

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Mary April 06 2014 at 11:08 AM

Why are we sticking our nose where it does not belong?

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dave silveri April 06 2014 at 11:10 AM

Yo Obamo, just feed them Michelles lunch and you can starve them to death.

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