January 14, 2011 12:06
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Japanese counterpart Toshimi Kitazawa on Thursday pledged to strengthen regional ties in the face of threats from North Korea and the rising influence of China. Gates told reporters, "The key on the Korean Peninsula... is to prevent another provocation from happening." Kitazawa said, "We shared the view that it's important to demand that China take cooperative action as a responsible major power in the international community."
Gates added the U.S. will maintain its military strength in Northeast Asia and expand it in Southeast Asia.
In a meeting earlier the same day with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, Gates called for stronger cooperation in the defense of Japan and stability in the region. Washington and Tokyo are discussing ways of reinforcing the rear support to U.S. forces by Japan's Self-Defense Forces in emergency like a major upheaval in the North.
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