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US defence chief meets NATO to discuss IS, Afghanistan

– With the Islamic State group crumbling in Iraq and Syria, North Korea defiant over its nuclear ambitions and Russia looming large, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has plenty of pressing issues as he begins talks with NATO allies on Wednesday.

NATO defence ministers are meeting over two days at the alliance s Brussels headquarters as US President Donald Trump arrived in Beijing to press key player China to do more to get Pyongyang to curb its nuclear and ballistic weapons programmes.

The North Korean nuclear crisis will be the focus of a working dinner on Wednesday, where ministers will be joined by the EU s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini.

Tensions have soared since Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test — its most powerful to date — and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the crisis demanded a united international effort.

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