• Kyodo

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Japan and the United States are arranging to hold security talks involving their foreign and defense chiefs in Washington around Aug. 17, after postponing them from mid-July due to conflicts of schedule, sources close to bilateral ties said Tuesday.

The first “two-plus-two” meeting since President Donald Trump took office in January is likely to cover how to tackle North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and beef up a ballistic missile defense system, the sources said.

Tokyo and Washington hope to hold the meeting as soon as possible, given that Pyongyang, led by young leader Kim Jong Un, announced on July 4 that it successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

Attending the talks from Japan are foreign and defense ministers, who will be tapped in a Cabinet reshuffle planned for early next month. From the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will take part.

Japan and the United States are also expected to exchange views on the duties of the U.S. military and the Self-Defense Forces, with an eye on China’s assertive moves in the East and South China seas.

Similar talks were last held in April 2015.

The two countries had earlier sought to hold the talks sometime in mid-July, but they postponed it because Tillerson would not be available around that time.

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