Obama's Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced Monday in Japan that a site for a second missile defense system in Japan will be determined by a joint U.S.-Japan team over the coming months.
Panetta repeated the lie that the new system is needed to defend against a potential attack from North Korea—a claim Chinese official press editorials have dismissed as ridiculus, while warning that such an overt threat to Chinese defensive capacities may force both an expansion of nuclear capacities and a re-thinking of China's "no-first-strike" policy.
"It's no secret that one of our concerns in this area is the ballistic missile threat from North Korea," Panetta said, in a press conference together with Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto. "We have made these concerns very clear to the Chinese. We've also made clear that we'll take steps to protect the United States and our allies from that threat."
In addition to detecting ballistic missiles, the radars also provide the U.S. military and its allies a highly detailed view of ship traffic in the region, where the Japanese have recently provoked a serious rift with China by "nationalizing" a contested territory in the East China Sea.