Wallace meets Japan’s Suga, reaffirms defence ties

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In his meeting with PM Suga, Wallace emphasised the UK and Japan’s common strategic interests, commitment to stability in the region and a free and open Indo-Pacific…reports Asian Lite News.

During a two-day visit to Japan, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has met with Japan’s Prime Minister Suga and Defence Minister Kishi and reaffirmed the UK and Japan’s close ties in defence and security.

The meet was ahead of the visit of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group to Japan in September.

In his meeting with PM Suga, Wallace emphasised the UK and Japan’s common strategic interests, commitment to stability in the region and a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“The UK’s defence relationship with Japan is the closest it has been in the last century,” Wallace said.

“Following exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force in the Gulf of Aden and in the waters off Japan, the upcoming visit of the UK-led Carrier Strike Group to five ports across the country is a clear demonstration of our commitment to maintaining regional security and upholding the rules-based international order with Japan,” he added.

During a joint press conference with Defence Minister Kishi, he announced the Japanese ports that elements of the Carrier Strike Group will be visiting. They will be Sasebo, Okinawa, Kure, Yokosuka, and Maizuru.

Following on from the Carrier Strike Group’s inaugural deployment, the UK will permanently assign two offshore patrol vessels to the Indo-Pacific region from later this year.

It will also contribute a Littoral Response Group (LRG) in the coming years, thereby demonstrating the UK’s commitment to collective defence and security in the region in the decades ahead.

The Secretary of State was accompanied Admiral Antony Radakin, First Sea Lord, and Air Chief Marshal Michael Wigston, Chief of Air Staff. During the visit the Secretary of State and delegation met with senior leadership from the Japanese Self Defence Forces and the U.S Forces in Japan.

“The visit to Japan by senior members of the UK’s armed forces and the Secretary of State represents the ever closer partnership between Japan and the UK and our commitment to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Julia Longbottom, British Ambassador to Japan said.

“The UK is committed to working with Japan to support regional stability and to meet shared global challenges, such as cyber security, combatting global pandemics and ensuring the global systems that promote the free flow of trade and knowledge are strengthened and defended,” he added.

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