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Mar 28, 2013

North readies rockets after U.S. flies stealth bombers over South

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) – North Korea put its
rocket units on standby on Friday to attack U.S. military bases
in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two
nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a
rare show of force.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a
midnight meeting of top generals and “judged the time has come
to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the
prevailing situation”, official KCNA news agency said.

Mar 22, 2013

China to attend major U.S.-hosted naval exercises, but role limited

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China’s People’s Liberation Army has accepted an invitation to participate for the first time in a major U.S.-hosted naval drill, but legal restrictions will limit its role to less sensitive exercises, like disaster relief, U.S. officials say.

Beijing’s agreement to join the drills being held next year comes at a moment of heightened tensions between China and U.S. ally Japan over disputed East China Sea islets, and unease in the United States about China’s rapid military buildup and its cyber capabilities.

Mar 18, 2013

Top general urges caution on Syria options, rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has a less clear understanding of Syria’s opposition than it did last year, the top U.S. military officer said on Monday, in comments likely to disappoint rebels hoping that America might be inching toward a decision to arm them.

“About six months ago, we had a very opaque understanding of the opposition and now I would say it’s even more opaque,” said General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Mar 16, 2013

U.S. to bolster missile defenses to counter North Korea threat: Hagel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans on Friday to bolster missile defenses in response to “irresponsible and reckless provocations” by North Korea, which threatened a preventative nuclear strike against the United States last week.

Hagel said the Pentagon would add 14 new anti-missile interceptors at Fort Greely in Alaska – an effective reversal of an early Obama administration decision – and move ahead with the deployment of a second missile-defense radar in Japan.

Mar 15, 2013

U.S. to bolster missile defenses to counter North Korea threat: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will announce at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Friday a plan to bolster U.S. missile defenses in Alaska to counter the growing North Korean threat, a U.S. defense official said.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, did not offer additional details.

Mar 15, 2013

U.S. to bolster missile defenses to counter N.Korea threat -source

WASHINGTON, March 15 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel will announce at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Friday a plan to
bolster U.S. missile defenses in Alaska to counter the growing
North Korean threat, a U.S. defense official said.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of
anonymity, did not offer additional details.

Mar 11, 2013

As Afghan trip goes badly off script, Hagel opts for caution

KABUL (Reuters) – It was a harrowing international debut for Chuck Hagel, whose first trip to Afghanistan as U.S. defence secretary went dramatically off-script and challenged the American narrative about the 11-year-old war.

His first full day in Afghanistan began with the sound of suicide bomb attack about a kilometre away from his morning meetings at a NATO facility. But the real damage came the next day when Washington’s mercurial ally in the war, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban hours before the two met.

Mar 11, 2013

As Afghan trip goes badly off script, cautious Hagel focuses on U.S. troops

KABUL (Reuters) – It was a harrowing international debut for Chuck Hagel, whose first trip to Afghanistan as U.S. defense secretary went dramatically off-script and challenged the American narrative about the 11-year-old war.

His first full day in Afghanistan began with the sound of suicide bomb attack about a kilometer away from his morning meetings at a NATO facility. But the real damage came the next day when Washington’s mercurial ally in the war, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban hours before the two met.

Mar 11, 2013

Afghanistan’s Karzai blasts U.S., marring Hagel visit

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai ratcheted up his criticism of the United States on Sunday, marring a debut visit by the new U.S. defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, and highlighting tensions that could undermine Washington’s strategy to wind down the unpopular war.

A day after two Taliban bombings killed 17 people, Karzai accused the United States and the Taliban of colluding to convince Afghans that foreign forces were needed beyond 2014, when NATO is set to wrap up its combat mission and most troops withdraw.

Mar 10, 2013

Afghanistan’s Karzai criticizes U.S., exposing tension

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ratcheted up his criticism of Washington during a visit of the U.S. defense secretary, underscoring tension between allies struggling to stabilize the country ahead of a NATO troop withdrawal.

Karzai accused the United States and the Taliban of colluding to convince Afghans that foreign forces were needed to maintain peace in the country beyond next year, when most foreign combat forces are due to leave.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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