TOKYO, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A former U.S. deputy secretary of state said China's "multiple personality disorder" was posing challenges for the United States – the same day Japanese Defense Minister said Tokyo is considering the deployment of an anti-missile defense system.
"I don't think China or we give enough credit to the fact that China has what might be called by psychologists multiple personality disorder," said Richard Armitage in Tokyo during a symposium organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday.
Armitage did not directly refer to the growing dispute over Beijing's land reclamation activities in the South China Sea, but said that China still sees itself as an empire.
"They think they have rights that the rest of us don't. If you are an empire your leaders rule all under the heavens. That's part of China's personality, too," the former deputy secretary of state said.
In a separate statement, Armitage said U.S. troops and Japan's Self-Defense Forces should work toward integrated operations, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
Armitage said he welcomes the September passage of Japan's security bills that would allow the country's military to fight in overseas missions, and that it is important the countries' militaries work jointly on operations -- but only on certain campaigns.
The former naval officer said that Japan's SDF would not be expected to serve in military operations in the Middle East, and that Tokyo's Official Development Assistance has other means of supporting refugees.
In Hawaii, Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said that Tokyo is considering the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, Kyodo News reported.
The defense minister's statement is a first regarding THAAD deployment for Japan. The system would be a larger surface-to-air missile defense plan that the Patriot Advanced Capability, or PAC-3 interceptor currently retained by Japan's SDF.
THAAD deployment would block North Korean medium-range ballistic missiles, and send a signal to China. But the system could be a costly purchase and would need to be placed at several locations along the Japanese archipelago.
Nakatani also met with U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift on Tuesday and toured the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.