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International relations

US urges allies to spend 2% of GDP on defense, citing China threat

Pentagon's call pushes Japan to double its current budget

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrives in Los Angeles on Sept. 16. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense)

NEW YORK -- Washington is urging its allies to increase military spending to at least 2% of their gross domestic product to counter China, putting pressure on Japan to take a more assertive military role in the region.

"To our allies and partners around the world ... we urge you to increase your defense spending to at least 2% of GDP, and to make the needed investments to improve your capabilities and capacity, just as we are doing with our armed forces," to achieve their shared goals, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday at a Rand Corp. event.

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