(Newsroom America) -- The United States and Japan have agreed to bolster's the Asian nation's defenses aimed at countering a missile threat from neighboring North Korea, according to American officials.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday Washington and Tokyo had agreed to put in a second defense system consisting of high-powered radar. The new site will likely be in the south but will not be on Okinawa, reports said.
Officials stressed the system is aimed at protecting Japan against missile strikes by North Korea, not China.
U.S. warships in the region already have similar systems on board.
In speaking to reporters, Panetta said the new system would also be effective in protecting the U.S. homeland from North Korean missile attacks.
The new system will "enhance our ability to defend Japan," Panetta said, adding he planned to talk to Chinese leaders about the system and to reassure them it is not meant as a deterrent to Beijing.
"We have made these concerns clear to the Chinese," he said. "For that reason ... we believe it is very important to move ahead" with the radar system, Panetta said.
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