By Yuya Yokobori / Yomiuri Shimbun CorrespondentTAMPA, Fla. — The United States has asked Japan and other countries to take part in an international coalition to ensure security in waterways including the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during an interview with Fox News on Thursday.
He also suggested that the United States is moving forward on its goal of creating the coalition.
Asked during the interview if the United States will escort U.S. vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, Pompeo said: “We are at the beginning stages of developing our maritime security initiative. We’ll be part of that, but so will nations from all across the world ... We’ve asked the Brits, the French, the Germans, the Norwegians, the Japanese, the South Koreans, the Australians.
“Every country that has an interest in ensuring that those waterways are open and crude oil and other products can flow through the Straits of Hormuz needs to participate.”
Representatives from the United States and other countries gathered in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, for the second meeting aimed at forming an international coalition.
An official of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees the Middle East, is believed to have explained in detail the early warning and surveillance activities of U.S. forces in and around the Strait of Hormuz, as well as how countries could work together to escort vessels.
The meeting was held at MacDill Air Force Base, which is home to CENTCOM’s headquarters. It started in the morning and lasted for many hours — much longer than the first meeting at the U.S. State Department on July 19, which ended after just one hour.
CENTCOM said in a statement Thursday that the coalition is to bring about stability by strengthening maritime surveillance capability. The statement also stressed the coalition would promote the safety of navigation, which would contribute to de-escalation, making it clear that the United States does not intend to inflame tensions with Iran.Speech