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Pentagon chief reaffirms U.S.-Japanese treaty covers disputed islands

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel makes his address at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 22, 20
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel makes his address at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 22, 20

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in a phone call on Wednesday with his Japanese counterpart, reaffirmed that the U.S.-Japanese defense treaty covers a small island group where China established a new airspace defense zone last week.

Hagel, in a call with Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, "commended the Japanese government for exercising appropriate restraint" following China's announcement and pledged to consult closely with Tokyo to avoid unintended incidents around the islands, a Pentagon spokesman said.

China and Japan both claim possession of the islands.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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