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US to put new radar in Japan to monitor North Korea launches

TOKYO —- The United States will deploy a new ballistic missile defense radar in Kyoto Prefecture with the intention of tracking missile launches by North Korea, Cabinet-level officials from the United States and Japan said following meetings Thursday.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with their Japanese counterparts, each said the X-band radar system would help modernize the U.S.-Japan security alliance.

“This additional radar will bolster our ability to defend the U.S. homeland and Japan against North Korea’s ballistic missiles,” Hagel said.

Kerry said the United States would welcome renewed talks with North Korea and would be willing to sign a non-aggression pact with Pyongyang; however, any framework for talks would have to begin with North Korea’s renunciation of nuclear weapons as a starting point.

“We have said again and again that we are not going to get into a repeat of past negotiations, which go around in a circle where there are some concessions, some agreements, and then the agreement is broken,” Kerry said.

Concerns over the North’s nuclear program and its ability to deliver weapons have risen since Pyongyang successfully launched a three-stage rocket last December and conducted its third nuclear test in February, then threatened to launch strikes on South Korea and U.S. territory.

news@stripes.com

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