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International relations

Asia's web of defense ties falls prey to coronavirus

Efforts by US and Japan to enlist partners fray as exercises and meetings are canceled

Takanami, a destroyer of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, is seen at port in Yokosuka Japan. Two of Japan's vessels were denied entry to the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia in February after the island nations imposed entry bans from Japan.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Joint military drills and defense summits are being canceled across the Asia-Pacific in response to the coronavirus outbreak, throwing a wrench into Japanese and U.S. efforts to woo regional players in their rivalry against China.

"Several joint exercises have already been canceled as part of the coronavirus response," Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters last Thursday. "It is regrettable that opportunities to advance defense cooperation with other countries are being postponed or canceled."

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