LONDON -- Kuwait said the U.S. military's decision to withdraw Patriot missile systems from the country was a "routine procedure."
The Pentagon is removing four Patriot missile systems from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain.
A U.S. defense official told Reuters on Wednesday that Washington was making the decision as part of a shift in focus away from the fight against extremist militants, in order to address tensions with China and Russia.
Kuwait army's General Chief of staff Lt. Gen. Mohammad Al-Khuder said the decision was an interior routine procedure and in coordination with the Kuwaiti army.
"Kuwait's Patriot missile system, independently, protects and covers all its geographical borders," he said in a statement.
Patriots are designed to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles and other airborne threats.
The redeployment of the missiles comes at a time of increased tension between the U.S. and Iran, which President Donald Trump and his national security adviser John Bolton this week assailed at the United Nations.
When approached by Pentagon reporters, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declined to comment on the matter, AFP reported.
Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said that, due to operational security, "we're not going to discuss the movement of specific capabilities into and out of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility."
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