U.S. will set up Second Missile Shield System in Japan
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 18, 2012
The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta ended his visit to Asia with the announcement that a new agreement was reached with his Japanese counterpart, Satoshi Morimoto, to install a second missile defense system in addition to the one already on the island, which Panetta emphasized, is for the protection of the Japanese people. Panetta drew attention to the idea that Japan continuous to be threatened by possible attacks from North Korea; a Chinese ally.
Panetta traveled to Asia to meet with the Japanese Secretary of Defense, as well as to meet with the Chinese representative, with whom held conversations regarding the latest tensions between China and Japan over the territorial dispute that has caused the latest friction between the two Asian nations.
“Everyone should be involved so that Japan and China have good relations and find a way to avoid an escalation” in their current differences, Panetta said Monday in Japan before arriving in Beijing. The Defense Secretary called on both countries to remain “calm and restraint”, and to avoid initiating actions that could turn the dispute over the islands into a more difficult issue to resolve.
This dual action summarizes the complicated crossroads where the U.S. is on the continent: the obligation to protect its allies, while not drawing the ire of China. U.S. has signed a defense treaty with Japan and is responsible for decades of security in that country, while assuring China that the military build up is not a direct threat to the Chinese government. The United States escalated its move of troops and military equipment in Asia, which has raised the voice of alarm in China and Russia.
Both countries have been almost completely encircled by US military equipment, such as missile shield systems. In other cases where the US has not directly build weapons systems in Asia or Africa, it has sold or simply given military equipment to other allies, which is also seen as a threat in Beijing and Moscow.and the like that has with various countries of the region. China and Russia have stepped up their own build up of force in response to the massive US intervention in the continent, mainly through special operations or actions from allied countries such as Japan. For the Chinese and the Russian it is very difficult to believe that the American encirclement is for reasons other than to establish itself on the continent to challenge their power.
Two weeks ago, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, suffered some rudeness in Beijing and was heavily criticized by the press for the position she showed with respect to China’s territorial problems with some of its neighbors in the South Sea. Clinton expressed her wish that the sea in that region remained open as the vital and intense trade route it is today. Some Chinese media replied that the best guarantee for that to happen would be the the U.S. stayed out.
But the U.S. is not going to do that. On the contrary, is increasing its military presence. In January, the Pentagon announced that transit of the bulk of a fleet would sail all over the region for the next few years. The U.S. has opened a new Marine base in Australia and has reached an agreement to increase its transit through Philippine waters. The reason for this increase is, officially, the growing threat of North Korea and the vulnerability of some U.S. allies such as Japan or South Korea. China interpreted it, however, as interference in a region where the Chinese would otherwise be a dominant power.
During her visit, Clinton could not meet with the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who was unavailable for public appearances. Meanwhile, Leo Panetta has scheduled an appointment with him, which may facilitate the dialogue since Mr. Xi was an advisor to the Ministry of Defense in China. He also happens to be an expert in military affairs.
The militarization of the rivalry between China and the U.S. has always been seen as a frightening possibility by the international community and as a risk that both countries have tried to avoid so far. Very dependent on each other for economic progress, both China and the U.S. have always understood how much they would lose if a conflict broke out. But at the same time, neither is willing to relinquish control of a strategic region that provides most of the world’s wealth.
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