Saudi Arabia supports Japan’s mission in the Middle East

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS)

Japanese media report that Saudi Arabia has expanded its support for the deployment of Japanese troops in the Middle East to protect ship navigation in the region.

On Friday, Japan ordered the deployment of a naval gunner and two P-3C patrol aircraft in the Middle East, along with 260 troops from the Tokyo Naval Self-Defense Force.

Tokyo-based Kyodo News Agency reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his full support for the decision to deploy Japanese troops during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is on a visit to Saudi Arabia.

While the two leaders agreed to work closely together to ensure the safe navigation of ships in the region, Abe called for lowering tensions in the region in the wake of the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US air strike on January 2.

Japanese forces will guard the Gulf of Oman, the northern belt of the Arabian Sea, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

During the meeting, as reported by Japanese media, Abe and bin Salman “agreed that collective efforts are needed to reduce tensions in the Middle East.”

“A military conflict in the Middle East will have a major impact on global peace and stability. I would like to ask all interested countries to respond to the situation in a restrained manner, “the Japanese prime minister was quoted as saying.

Abe is staying in the Middle East on a five-day visit, in which he will visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Japan, the world’s number three economy, imports about 90 percent of its crude oil from the Middle East.

It is said that the Japanese mission in the region helps ensure the safe passage of merchant ships.

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