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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis listens to a question during a joint news conference in New Delhi, India September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

(reuters_tickers)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday slammed what he said were "absolutely false" media reports asserting that President Donald Trump had called for an increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

"This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible," Mattis said in a written statement. NBC had reported that Trump sought a tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, something Trump had already denied.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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