August 7, 2019 / 2:10 PM / 10 days ago

Japan: PM Abe and U.S. defence secretary didn't discuss U.S.-proposed maritime force

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks at a news conference about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on September 15, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper did not have any particular exchange on the U.S.-proposed maritime coalition in the Middle East, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the premier and Esper confirmed the two nations would work on peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region as well as further strengthen the alliance between Japan and the United States.

Suga also met Esper separately and the two didn’t discuss the maritime coalition in the Middle East, either.

A senior U.S. defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that while the issue of the U.S.-led maritime initiative in the Gulf did not come up in Esper’s meeting with Abe, it was discussed in broad terms in some of his other meetings, including with his Japanese counterpart.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Idress Ali; Editing by Kim Coghill and Stephen Powell

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