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Hagel to meet with Pakistan's prime minister; first US defense chief to go since 2010

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, right, shakes hands with U.S. Marine Lance CPL. Arron Corona as he works on a MRAP vehicle, at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Hagel spoke with troops and thanked them for being deployed for the holidays. (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, right, shakes hands with U.S. Marine Lance CPL. Arron Corona as he works on a MRAP vehicle, at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Hagel spoke with troops and thanked them for being deployed for the holidays. (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has arrived in Pakistan for meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (nah-WAHZ' shah-REEF') and other officials.

Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog says Hagel is looking forward to "candid and productive conversations" about ways to address common threats and help promote the stability of neighboring Afghanistan.

U.S. relations with Pakistan have seesawed because of drone strikes and military operations along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, though there have been some signs of improvement. Sharif met with President Barack Obama in late October.

The last Pentagon chief to visit Pakistan was Robert Gates in January 2010.

Hagel flew to Pakistan from Afghanistan, where he visited U.S. troops but declined to meet with President Hamid Karzai, who has rankled the U.S. by refusing to sign a security agreement before year's end.