U.S. Defense chief in Japan to show alliance strong amid China worries




 
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April 8th, 2015  
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Topic: U.S. Defense chief in Japan to show alliance strong amid China worries


By David Brunnstrom and Kiyoshi Takenaka TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter kicked off talks with his Japanese counterpart on Wednesday aimed at demonstrating that the two countries' security alliance is tighter than ever amid China's growing assertiveness in the region. Carter's visit coincides with the first update in U.S.-Japan defense cooperation guidelines since 1997, a revision that will expand the scope for interaction between the two allies in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to ease the constraints of Japan's pacifist constitution on the nation's military. Such expanded training and joint missions might extend through the South China Sea where China, Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations have rival claims - to the Indian Ocean. Neither Tokyo nor Washington have territorial claims in the South China Sea, but the U.S. Seventh Fleet operates in the area and a Japanese naval presence could irritate Beijing, which has a separate territorial row with Tokyo in the East China Sea.

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