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    U.S. Military Official Calls for Stronger Ties with Japan

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    NTDTelevision

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    A top U.S. military official says Japan and the U.S. must develop stronger military ties. His statement comes as tensions continue to rise on the Korean peninsula.

    The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff met with the Japanese Defense Minister on Thursday in Tokyo, where the two agreed to stage more joint military drills.

    The United States' top military official, Admiral Mike Mullen, says Tokyo, Seoul and Washington must build an even stronger alliance in the face of North Korean aggression.

    [Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff]:
    "This is a very important time. Our alliance is so critical and so good, and so, we are able to spend some time with you to discuss the challenging issues that we face actually right now because of recent events in particular in the Korean Peninsula, it's a great opportunity."

    Admiral Mullen says the danger from North Korea is rising and must be stopped.

    [Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff]:
    "These provocations continue seemingly at a more frequent interval, that the danger is going up and that steps must be taken to insure that they stop.”

    Military exercises between the United States and Japan are taking place from December 3-10, with the participation of some 44,500 personnel.

    The exercises are a regular occurrence, but this year come amid heightened tensions in the region after North Korea attacked a South Korean island and Seoul promised retaliation against any further attacks.

    [Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff]:
    "Globally, we are free to operate in international waters and we did that and we continue to do that.”

    Mullen's trip to Japan and South Korea follows talks in Washington between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Japanese and South Korean counterparts.