By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- The United States and Japan agreed Friday to strengthen cooperation between their top national security bodies in dealing with North Korea and other pending issues, the White House said.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with her Japanese counterpart, Shotaro Yachi, at her office here.
"During the meeting, they agreed to frequent regular communications between the two National Security Councils," the White House said in a press release. "They also discussed updating our defense partnership and our cooperative efforts to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
Yachi arrived in Washington earlier in the day for introductory meetings with senior U.S. government officials.
In December, Japan's Shinzo Abe administration launched the U.S.-style National Security Council (NSC), which would serve as the command center for Tokyo's diplomatic and defense strategies.
Yachi is the first head of the NSC secretariat.
The U.S. NSC staff looks forward to close and continuing consultation with the new Japanese NSC and its leadership to further advance strong U.S.-Japan relations, said the White House.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also had a meeting with the Japanese official at the Pentagon.
Hagel endorsed a "forward-looking revision of the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines that would enable Japan to play a more active role in promoting regional peace and stability," said Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary.
Hagel was quoted as telling Yachi the U.S. would continue to cooperate closely with Japan on strengthening the alliance to meet the security challenges of the 21st century.
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