U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, shakes hands with Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera during their bilateral meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
BANDER SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is opening two days of talks with Asian defense leaders in Brunei, pushing for closer military ties even as the world is focused on Syria.
Hagel was consulting by phone with administration officials and with allied defense chiefs, and he raised the Syria crisis in a one-on-one meeting Wednesday with his South Korean counterpart. Officials said the two agreed that the purported chemical weapons attack on civilians last week in Syria was a matter of deep concern.
Japan's defense minister thanked Hagel for taking the time to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference amid the Syria crisis.
Hagel told a British television interviewer on Tuesday that U.S. forces were "ready to go" should President Barack Obama order a military strike on Syria.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide detailed information.