U.S., Japan deepen NSC-level security consultations

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.

The Japanese official was scheduled to meet with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel later Friday.

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