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Hagel visiting Mexico to deepen cross-border ties

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is exploring ways to deepen U.S.-Mexican defense ties, including the possibility of training exercises with Mexican forces.

Hagel made the comment Wednesday to reporters traveling with him to Mexico City for talks Thursday with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts.

Military relations between the U.S. and Mexico have long been troubled, beginning with Mexico's loss of territory to the U.S. in the 1800s. More recently, ties have been strained by the battle against cross-border drug trafficking.

Hagel said Thursday's talks would also touch on security threats in the region, such as violent extremist groups, as well as potential areas of cooperation, including disaster relief planning and humanitarian assistance.

Hagel also is scheduled to visit Guatemala before returning to Washington on Friday.