April 19, 2013 / 10:37 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. assures Japan of defense against North Korean threat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden assured Japan’s deputy prime minister on Friday that the United States is committed to the defense of Japan against the threat posed by North Korea.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks next to Vice President Joe Biden on commonsense measures to reduce gun violence, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington April 17, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

North Korea in recent weeks has engaged in threatening rhetoric and is believed to have been taking steps toward a missile test launch, actions that have raised tensions in the Asia-Pacific.

Biden held talks with Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso. A White House statement said they agreed North Korea must end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and comply with its international obligations.

“They discussed ways to further deepen our security cooperation. In this context, the vice president reaffirmed that the United States remains steadfast in its defense commitments to Japan, including the extended deterrence offered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella,” the White House statement said.

Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Stacey Joyce

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