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Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and his Australian counterpart, Kevin Andrews, pledged Wednesday to boost defense ties through enhanced cooperation on a range of topics including tensions in the South China Sea and Australia’s submarine project.

Speaking to reporters after an hour-long meeting with Andrews at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Nakatani said they both shared “serious concern” on the reclamation work by China in the South China Sea and will oppose unilateral moves to change the status quo through the use of force.

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