June 03, 2013 11:48
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has vowed to bolster U.S. missile defense and thwart any attempts by North Korea to attack American soil.
Hagel said the U.S. will "not sit idly by" as North Korea tries to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the continental U.S. He vowed to take "all necessary steps" to create a missile defense system in the Pacific that can protect the U.S. mainland and its allies.
Hagel made the comments at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday. He urged other countries to join efforts to deal with North Korea's missile threat and added Washington, Seoul and Tokyo are working closely to bolster their defenses.
The new defense secretary said cooperation between the U.S. and China is necessary for a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.
He pledged cuts in U.S. defense spending will not impact policies that center on Asia and tried to calm nerves by saying 60 percent of U.S. troops stationed overseas, including tactical bombers and aircraft, are based in the Asia-Pacific region.
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