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International relations

U.S.-Japan alliance needs stronger deterrence, top diplomats say

Blinken and Hayashi discuss security on sidelines of G-7 summit

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi talk during the Group of Seven   meeting of foreign and development ministers in Liverpool on Dec. 11.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed on Saturday on the need to fortify their countries' alliance amid a tougher regional security environment, a Japanese government official said.

Hayashi and Blinken held talks on the sidelines of a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in the English city of Liverpool.

"The ministers, in light of the increasingly severe security environment in the region, agreed it is indispensable to boost the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. alliance," the official said in a media briefing.

Faced with China's military buildup and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday he plans to fundamentally strengthen Japan's defense posture by looking into options including acquiring the capability to strike enemy bases.

Hayashi and Blinken did not discuss the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the official said.

Earlier this week, Canada joined Australia, Britain and the United States in saying they would not send top officials to the Games, citing long-standing concerns over China's human rights record, while Japan has yet to make its stance clear.

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