U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (R) attends an honor guard ceremony with his South Korean counterpart Han Min-Koo (L) at the Defense Ministry in Seoul on February 3, 2017. (AFP / Ed JONES)
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Any nuclear attack by North Korea would trigger an "effective and overwhelming" response, U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis said Friday as he sought to reassure Asian allies rattled by President Donald Trump's isolationist rhetoric.Mattis spoke in the South Korean capital of Seoul on the first overseas tour by a senior Trump administration official as concerns rise about the direction of U.S. policy in the region under the protectionist and fiery leader.Some 28,500 U.S. troops are based in South Korea to defend it against the nuclear-armed North, and 47,000 in Japan.Japan's Abe -- who is scheduled to meet Trump next week in Washington -- told lawmakers he intends to press Mattis about "the significance of the Japan-U.S. alliance".Australia is a close U.S. ally, and one of the so-called "Five Eyes" countries with which the U.S. routinely shares sensitive intelligence.
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