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U.S. national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday linked the deployment of intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) in Asia to protecting America’s allies in the region — including Japan — despite Chinese warnings it would take retaliatory countermeasures.

Bolton said that any U.S. deployment of the missiles would be a defensive move as China continues to amass a large arsenal of weapons that put American and Japanese military bases and facilities within striking distance.

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