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Carter, New Japanese Defense Minister Discuss Changing Security Environment

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada met at the Pentagon yesterday to discuss the rapidly evolving security environment, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

It was the first meeting between the defense leaders, Cook said in a statement. Inada took office in August.

Topics included the persistent North Korean threat and maritime issues in the East and South China Seas, the press secretary said.

Carter affirmed that the Senkaku islands are administered by Japan and fall under Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty, he added. “They also affirmed both governments' determination to uphold the principle of freedom of navigation, and to continue to conduct maritime operations in accordance with international law.”

Enhancing Cooperation

Carter and Inada exchanged views on building a principled and inclusive security network in the Asia-Pacific region, Cook said, including enhancing trilateral cooperation with South Korea, Australia and India. They also discussed building the capacity and capability of Southeast Asian partners through dialogue, exercises, training and defense equipment cooperation, he said.

“The two leaders committed to further efforts to transform the alliance by implementing the Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation, and reaffirmed that the U.S.-Japan alliance remains unwavering and continues to serve as the cornerstone of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region,” the press secretary said.