U.S. to send 2 more missile defense ships to Japan to protect from North Korea
April 7, 2014 -- Updated 1220 GMT (2020 HKT)
The Navy is planning to forward-deploy two additional AEGIS ballistic missile defense ships to Japan by 2017. Shown here is the USS Lake Erie, an example of that kind of ship.
- Defense Secretary says U.S. will send 2 more missile defense ships
- Move is part of an effort to bolster protection from N.Korean missile threats
- Chuck Hagel is on visit to Tokyo, to travel to Beijing
(CNN) -- The United States will send more missile defense ships to Japan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday, as part of an effort to bolster protection from North Korean missile threats.
North Korea has carried out a series of missile launches in recent weeks and has warned it was preparing to test another nuclear device, prompting fresh criticism from the United States.
Speaking during a visit to Tokyo, Hagel announced that two Navy destroyers equipped with missile defense systems would be deployed to Japan by 2017.
"A key focus for our talks today was the threat posed by North Korea," Hagel told reporters after he met with Japan's defense and foreign ministers.
"In response to Pyongyang's pattern of provocative and destabilizing actions, including recent missile launches in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, I can announce today that the United States is planning to forward-deploy two additional AEGIS ballistic missile defense ships to Japan by 2017. This will bring our Japan-based fleet of BMD-capable ships to a total of seven."
The announcement followed other steps taken by the Pentagon to bolster its military posture in Japan, including an October decision to establish a second missile defense radar site in Kyoto prefecture.
"These steps will greatly enhance our ability to defend both Japan and the U.S. homeland from North Korean ballistic missile threats," Hagel said.
South Korea investigates two suspected North Korean drones
Hagel also addressed territorial disputes between China and its neighbors.
Relations between China and Japan are under strain over a territorial row involving a set of small, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which has led to frequent tense encounters between the two sides' ships and planes in recent times.
"Great powers have great responsibilities, and China is a great power," Hagel said.
"And with this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how do you employ that military power. And I want to talk with the Chinese about all of that. Particularly, transparency ... The more transparent and open governments can be with each other, the better for everyone. That avoids miscalculation, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and hopefully that lowers the risks of conflict."
Hagel leaves for Beijing on Monday.
CNN's Marie-Louise Gumuchian contributed to this report
Part of complete coverage on
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 2151 GMT (0551 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province, experts say.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories