U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to visit Japan on Nov. 14 to hold talks with Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba, Japanese government sources said Saturday.

Rumsfeld is also planning to visit South Korea, the sources said. It will be his first visit to both countries since being named defense secretary in January 2001.

According to the sources, Rumsfeld and Ishiba are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and bilateral cooperation on missile defense.

They are expected to exchange views on offering North Korea a multilateral security guarantee as a means of defusing tension on the Korean Peninsula caused by Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

They will also reconfirm cooperation in dealing with North Korea based on the U.S.-Japan bilateral security alliance, the sources said.

Rumsfeld is expected to welcome Japan’s decision to put $5 billion toward Iraq’s reconstruction and comment on the early dispatch of Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq.

The trip was originally scheduled for late October but was postponed due to protests in South Korea over Washington’s request that it dispatch troops to assist in the U.S.-led efforts to rebuild Iraq.

Japan and the U.S. have been trying to arrange a visit by Rumsfeld since he became defense secretary, but the U.S. campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq made it difficult for him to make the trip.

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