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New U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (R) is greeted by Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he arrives for his first day of work at the Pentagon outside Washington, U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Stewart


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's defence secretary plans to visit Japan and South Korea next week, choosing the two close U.S. allies for his debut trip abroad as Pentagon chief, a U.S. official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

James Mattis, a retired Marine general, was sworn into the Pentagon's top job shortly after Trump's inauguration on Friday.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Tom Hogue)