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    US to Swap Out Marine Regiment Stationed on Okinawa

    US to Swap Out Marine Regiment Stationed on Okinawa

    — Top national security officials from the United States and Japan are expected to agree to changes in the joint defense posture this week as the two nations confront rising threats from North and increasing aggressiveness from China.

    U.S. officials say Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet on Wednesday with their Japanese counterparts and plan to issue a joint statement that will adjust, but not increase, the American troop presence on the island of Okinawa. It also will add a formal mention of space in the longstanding mutual defense treaty the two countries have held, in a nod to the Pentagon's creation of the Space and Space Command.

    The agreements to be sealed at the so-called “two-plus-two” meeting will come just ahead of a visit to Washington by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who will meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday.

    “The leaders will discuss our shared vision of a modernized alliance that will tackle 21st century challenges in the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” said Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, on Tuesday. “China certainly will be a topic of discussion with our Japanese allies during the consultative meetings this week.”

    Ryder declined to provide details on the new agreement.

    But U.S. officials said the 12th Marine Regiment currently on Okinawa will transform into a smaller,…

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