High-ranking defense officials from China and South Korea urged their Japanese counterparts Oct. 22 to continue efforts to make the new Japan-U.S. defense arrangements transparent, Defense Agency officials said.During a two-day forum that ended Oct. 22, senior civilian and uniformed defense officials from 19 countries and the European Union exchanged opinions on the regional military climate, their national defense capabilities and policies, the future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum and confidence-building measures in the Asia-Pacific region.Both South Korean and Chinese officials cited domestic fears that Japan may expand its military roles under the new guidelines. But the Japanese side replied that Japan will adhere to its pacifist Constitution, even when acting under the security treaty with the U.S. The participants agreed to clarify voluntarily their defense policies to sustain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.The meeting, initiated last year by the Defense Agency under the ARF framework, was the second held in Japan. It is likely to be held in Indonesia next year, agency officials said.

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