Hagel, Onodera Discuss U.S.-Japanese Security Concerns
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 29, 2013 North Korea, the East China Sea and creating a new working group for joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities were on the table as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera met here today.
The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone of security and prosperity in Northeast Asia, Hagel reaffirmed following Pentagon meetings.
The most obvious threat to stability in Northeast Asia is North Korea. The two men agreed to close cooperation and coordination to monitor and respond if needed to North Korean provocations. This will most definitely include increased cooperation on missile defense.
“Today we made progress on plans to deploy a second TPY-2 radar to Japan, which will help protect both of our nations from the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles,” Hagel said during a news conference following the meeting. “The United States remains steadfast in our defense commitments to Japan, including extended deterrence and a further nuclear umbrella.”
Onodera and Hagel discussed continuing friction in the East China Sea. Hagel stressed the American position that the regional security challenge must be resolved peacefully and cooperatively between the parties involved.
“In our discussion today, I reiterated the principles that govern longstanding U.S. policy on the Senkaku Islands,” the secretary said. “The United States does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands, but we do recognize they are under the administration of Japan and fall under our security treaty obligations.”
China and Japan both claim the islands, and confrontations have resulted from the conflicting claims.
“Any actions that could raise tensions or lead to miscalculations affect the stability of the entire region,” Hagel said. “Therefore, the United States opposes any unilateral or coercive action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administrative control.”
Hagel and Onodera agreed that Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands and “that we are opposed to any unilateral action that aims to change the status quo by force,” the Japanese defense minister said through a translator.
Hagel said Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivered that message to Chinese officials during his visit to Beijing last week.
U.S. and Japanese defense planners also looked beyond the short-range threats in the region. The United States is working to rebalance forces to the Asia-Pacific area, and within the theater is rebalancing forces in Japan.
“Our staffs have been working for some time on a review of roles, missions and capabilities to inform any revisions to the defense guidelines that underpin our alliance cooperation,” Hagel said.
The staffs identified intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as a critical priority.
“Today we announce the formation of a defense ISR working group to deepen cooperation in this area,” the secretary said.
The two leaders discussed moving U.S. forces in Japan, and specifically on Okinawa. Onodera said he and Hagel confirmed U.S. plans to send 12 MV-22 Ospreys through Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni this summer and then move them to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
Onodera also invited Hagel to Japan for “Two-Plus-Two” meetings that bring together U.S. and Japanese ministers of defense and foreign affairs.