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Japan, US defense chiefs agree to enhance bilateral alliance

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Japanese and US defense chiefs agreed on Friday in Tokyo to continue to work together and enhance their alliance on a number of issues ranging from regional security to joint defensive drills.

In the first meeting between Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and his US counterpart Jim Mattis, the pair also traversed issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsular.

After the talks, Onodera told a press briefing that Japan and the United States will work with the international community regarding issues pertaining to the peninsular. Mattis, for his part, said that he "recognizes" some of the concerns raised by the Japanese side.

Mattis also explained the reason why there has been a pause in US-South Korea military exercises, saying there was a need for "space for our diplomats to negotiate strongly and increasing the prospect for a peaceful solution on the Korean Peninsula."

Following the defense chiefs' meeting, Mattis went on to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the pair spoke of the importance of maintaining the two nations' bilateral alliance.

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