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U.S., Australian defense chiefs discuss cooperation


08:19, May 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, May 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday met with visiting Australian Minister for Defense Stephen Smith to discuss cooperation, the Pentagon said in a statement.

According to the statement, Hagel hosted Smith for a working lunch at the Pentagon, discussing bilateral cooperation and progress "on a number of fronts including the rotation of U.S. forces to Australia, cooperation in space and cyberspace," as well as "shared commitment to investing in critical defense capabilities."

During the discussion, Hagel commended the progress to date of the rotation of U.S. Marines to Australia, noting that the second company-sized rotation of Marines arrived in Darwin recently and will train with their Australian counterparts over the next six months.

Hagel also "emphasized the enduring importance the United States places on the Asia-Pacific region" and "assured Minister Smith of American commitment to the Asia-Pacific and to the security of our allies and partners," said the Pentagon.

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