The Obama administration seems to think eliminating our missile defense systems in Asia is a good idea in dealing with North Korea.
Secretary of State John Kerry flew to China on Saturday and offered a concession on missile defense meant to elicit China’s help in dealing with an increasingly recalcitrant and nuclear armed North Korea.
In a news conference after meetings with China’s top leaders, Kerry said the United States would reduce its missile defenses in Asia if North Korea abandoned its nuclear weapons program.
Kerry’s overture appeared aimed at addressing Chinese concerns that North Korea’s provocative actions were leading the United States to build up military strength in the region as China is boosting its own influence there.
‘‘On missile defense, we discussed absolutely why we have taken the steps that we have taken,’’ Kerry said, referring to efforts the United States is taking to defend Guam, Hawaii, and the United States’ allies in Asia against a potential North Korean missile attack. The United States has dispatched two ships capable of missile defense and said it would speed up land-based missile defenses for Guam.
‘‘Now obviously if the threat disappears — i.e. North Korea denuclearizes — the same imperative does not exist at that point of time for us to have that kind of robust forward leaning posture of defense,’’ he added. ‘‘It would be our hope in the long run, or better yet in short run, that we can address that.’’
‘China has an enormous ability to help make a difference here.’John Kerry, secretary of state
Kerry’s offer to cut back on the newly fortified missile defense appeared to be part of a diplomatic strategy to get China, the North’s only true ally, to do what it has long resisted — to crack down hard enough on Pyongyang that its leaders will give up an increasingly sophisticated nuclear program.