Panetta warns of war over isle claims

China, Japan upping ante

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But this year, officials in Beijing have promised to protect fishermen by deploying paramilitary patrol vessels, “including in waters around the Diaoyou” as the Chinese call the island, according to Japan’s respected Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Also Sunday, the People’s Liberation Army’s East China Sea Fleet staged its first live-fire military exercise in the area, according to state-run China Central Television.

The Pentagon announced Monday that the U.S. and Japan have agreed to begin coordinating the deployment of a surveillance radar designed specifically for ballistic missile defense.

It will be Japan’s second deployment of the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control, or AN/TPY-2, which can track all classes of ballistic missiles and identify small objects at long distances, according to a Missile Defense Agency fact sheet. An AN/TPY radar already is deployed at Shariki, Japan.

A defense official said the radar deployment is not an act against China: “The radar would be focused on addressing the growing North Korean missile threat to the U.S. homeland, as well as U.S. citizens, our deployed forces, allies and partners in the region.”

There was no immediate response from Chinese officials about the radar.

Mr. Panetta also announced that the U.S. and Japan are cooperating in deploying two dozen Marine V-22 Osprey aircraft to a U.S. base in Okinawa.

“We have made great progress on this issue, important progress, and I believe we can expect a positive announcement soon,” Mr. Panetta said at a joint news conference with Mr. Morimoto, his Japanese counterpart.

The deployment of the tilt-rotor Ospreys is a sensitive issue for Okinawans. Before Mr. Panetta arrived in Tokyo, tens of thousands of Japanese had protested against the aircraft, which residents say is prone to crashes and risks the safety of people in densely populated Okinawa.

“We will do everything possible to respond to the concerns with regard to the Osprey,” Mr. Panetta said. “We will take whatever steps necessary to try to assure that the people involved are, and that the operations are safe, that we do whatever we can to provide noise abatement, that we will do whatever we can to assure the operations are in keeping with the neighbors that we have and that we respect at the base at Okinawa.”

Shaun Waterman in Washington contributed to this report.

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