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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Saturday the United States will send two ballistic missile defense destroyers to Japan by 2017 over North Korean missile concerns.
Hagel met with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and said the decision came as North Korea continues a "pattern of provocative and destabilizing actions," reports The Associated Press.
As previously reported, Japan quietly sent a destroyer into the Sea of Japan just a week after North Korea tested out two Rodong ballistic missiles.
The order, issued by Onodera, was originally done quietly so as Japan would prefer not to tip its hand as to the country's missile defense capabilities.
In an effort to likely strengthen ties with Japan, Hagel also said at the press conference he will be telling China at an upcoming meeting that the powerful nation must respect Japan, as the two countries have squabbled over territorial claims regarding the Senkaku (also known as Diaoyu) Islands.
Hagel said that the U.S. hopes that the two Asian countries can come together and hash out a resolution.