US and Japan reach missile defense agreement; China isn't happy


Protesters take part in an anti-Japanese protest outside the Japanese consulate in Shanghai following the arrest of a group of pro-China activists who landed on a disputed archipelago known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.


Peter Parks

The United States has announced that it will deploy a second advanced missile-defense system in Japan, BBC News reported. North Korea is the the primary threat that Japan's missiles are directed at, and people in Japan have become increasingly alarmed by North Korea's missile technology. But the technology in Japan may also be directed at China, where the deal between the US and Japan received immediate criticism.

"The focus of our rhetoric is North Korea," Steven Hildreth, a missile-defense expert with the Congressional Research Service, told the Wall Street Journal. "The reality is that we're also looking longer term at the elephant in the room, which is China."

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But Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta insisted during a Tokyo press conference that the radar system is not aimed at China, the New York Times reported. Panetta is expected to meet with Xi Jinping, China's next leader, on Wednesday. Nonetheless, Chinese people are not happy. Officials told the Times that the missile shield would hurt China in its ongoing fight with Japan over disputed island territories, which are known as the Diaoyu Islands in China.

"The joint missile defense system objectively encourages Japan to keep an aggressive position in the Diaoyu Islands dispute, which sends China a very negative message," Shi Yinhong, a professor of international studies at Renmin University, told the Times.