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Pentagon chief meets Japanese foreign minister on planned DPRK launch

(Xinhua)

09:54, April 13, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta met with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba on Thursday, discussing a possible satellite launch this month by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Pentagon Spokesman George Little said Panetta and Gemba discussed "a wide range of defense and security issues," including the possible DPRK launch, and bilateral discussions on the realignment of U.S. forces on Okinawa.

"Secretary Panetta and Minister Gemba reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Japan Alliance in defense of Japan and in contributing to regional peace and security," said Little. The meeting took place at the Pentagon.

The DPRK has said it would launch the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite between April 12 and 16 to celebrate the centenary of the birth of its late leader Kim Il Sung. The plan has raised serious concerns among the international community, with the United Nations, South Korea, Japan and the United States calling on the DPRK to reconsider or suspend the plan.

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