POSTED: 9:44 a.m. HST, Jan 22, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 9:45 a.m. HST, Jan 22, 2014
HAGATNA, Guam » A congressional delegation leader who visited Guam this week said he supports the long-term deployment of a missile system at the U.S. territory.
U.S. Rep. Robert Wittman met in separate meetings Tuesday with Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo and Guam senators, Pacific Daily News reported.
The Virginia Republican is chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee. He voiced his support for the missile defense system the U.S. sent last year to Guam, a strategically important military outpost 1,500 miles south of Tokyo.
Guam's congressional delegate Madeleine Bordallo is seeking a permanent deployment of the system after North Korea mentioned Guam as a potential missile target last year. The missile defense system — called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense — is designed to intercept missiles during their final stage of flight.
Wittman, Bordallo and Texas Rep. Bill Flores arrived Monday as part of a trip that also includes Okinawa, Japan.
Local senators met with the congressional delegation in the office of Speaker Judith Won Pat, and both sides said it was cordial meeting.
It was a departure from a meeting a few years ago, when visiting U.S. senators left with the impression that local lawmakers opposed military expansion plans on the island, according to the newspaper.
"It's been a very, very constructive conversation," Wittman said. "It's good for us to come here in person to understand and ensure that as we make those decisions in Washington, and as we communicate with the folks in the Pentagon, that they understand, too, what the local concerns are."