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Mr. Wilder sought to play down Japan’s concerns about China’s rapid military buildup, noting that Beijing’s growing military power is a concern to Tokyo.

“On the other hand, there are tremendous opportunities for American and Japanese business in dealing with China in bringing China into the international community in a positive role and I am sure this will be a topic that the two leaders will discuss,” said Mr. Wilder, a former CIA analyst on China’s military who in the past has been accused by co-workers of bias in playing down China’s military.

Asked about the danger of a conflict over Taiwan, Mr. Wilder said China’s buildup of missiles and other weapons has caused concern that “Beijing may at some point be tempted to coercion.” Both the United States and Japan want to dissuade China from the temptation to attack the island.

Taiwan likely will be discussed at the summit because both countries are “like-minded democracies who see democratic development on Taiwan as a positive thing, and we want to help them keep that democracy vibrant and alive.” Japan’s interest in the F-22 was first reported in this space.

North Korea watch U.S. intelligence agencies are closely monitoring the nuclear reactor facility at Yongbyon, North Korea, for any signs that Pyongyang is preparing to shut down the system as part of the agreement reached Feb. 13 in Beijing.

“There is no evidence to indicate, nor is there reason to believe, that it has shut down,” said a U.S. official who is knowledgeable on the issue.

The official dismissed Asian press reports that increased activity near Yongbyon was an indication that North Korea was preparing to halt activity at the reactor site that U.S. intelligence agencies think already has produced up to 110 pounds of plutonium, enough for six or seven bombs.

The Yongbyon shutdown was due April 14 under the pact, but North Korea has not followed through, claiming it will not do so until Macao’s Banco Delta Asia released about $25 million in North Korean money that was sanctioned by the Treasury Department under USA Patriot Act money-laundering provisions.

A second official said there were no new surprises as North Korea held a major military parade on Wednesday to mark the founding of the million-man army.

Some officials suspected Pyongyang would show off its long-range Taepodong-2, but the only missiles were North Korea’s short-range Scud variants, the official said.

Tough news Army Gen. David H. Petraeus sent a letter to U.S. troops serving in Iraq shortly after the Pentagon announcement that tours of duty for combat troops had been extended.

“This was, I know, tough news for many of you,” Gen. Petraeus said in the April 14 letter. “It was particularly difficult news as a leak of this action back in Washington meant that your chain of command was unable to notify you or your families before the extension was reported in the press.” Gen. Petraeus said the extensions were needed as part of the surge of 21,500 troops and were “absolutely necessary to our ability to accomplish our mission.” He noted that his current assignment as commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq is his fourth “year-or-longer” deployment since 2001.

Gen. Petraeus echoed his comments of the past few days in the letter, noting that there have been positive results, but that a lot of work remains. “Your visible presence alongside Iraqi soldiers and police has begun to restore a sense of normalcy to many areas that have seen little other than violence over the past year,” he said.

Large weapons caches have been uncovered, death squads and car-bomb networks have been stopped and “commerce in many markets and neighborhoods” is returning.

Continued targeted bombings by terrorists, however are a harsh reminder that “we face a barbaric, thinking enemy,” he said.

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