Wednesday, November 25, 2015         

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Talks between U.S. and Japan in isles focus on Pacific defense

By Audrey McAvoy / Associated Press


The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific hosted Japan's most senior uniformed officer this week for talks on regional security and strengthening the U.S.-Japa­nese alliance.

Adm. Samuel Locklear from U.S. Pacific Command and Japan Self Defense Forces' joint chief, Gen. Shi­geru Iwa­saki, met Thursday and Friday.

The meetings were a regularly scheduled consultation between the two allies, said Staff Sgt. Carl Hudson, a Pacific Command spokes­man. He said the meetings are similar to regular discussions the U.S. also holds with allies the Philippines and Australia.

The dialogue "offers these leaders an opportunity to discuss ways to deepen operational cooperation and to improve the effectiveness of bilateral operations," Hudson said in an email Thursday.

Kyodo News reported Locklear and Iwa­saki were to discuss joint operation plans for any contingency involving islands claimed by both Japan and China, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. Kyodo said Locklear and Iwa­saki were expected to agree to accelerate the drafting of the plans.

Asked whether Locklear and Iwa­saki would discuss how their two countries would respond to any contingency over the islands, Hudson said the United States does not take sides in territorial disputes and encourages all parties to find a peaceful resolu-tion.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokes­man Hong Lei said Thursday that China was "seriously concerned" about Japa­nese media reports saying Japan and the U.S. were updating their military defense plans involving the disputed islands.

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