London: Britain has joined the United States in lobbying Australia to join the US-led mission to protect ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz from the Iranians, it can be revealed.
It comes after Britain, which had favoured an EU-led mission to escort vessels through the Persian Gulf, changed tack and joined the US-led mission, after its European partners were lukewarm on the idea.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo all but requested Australia contribute during his visit to Australia .
Now it can be revealed Britain is also encouraging Australia to contribute. Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison discussed the importance of international cooperation to protect shipping and defend freedom of navigation during a telephone call overnight.
Mr Morrison reaffirmed that Australia is still considering its position.
TOKYO — Tokyo has shelved the dispatch of Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) vessels to the Strait of Hormuz as part of a military coalition that the U.S. government is calling for to protect commercial shipping in the Middle East, multiple sources connected to the Japanese government have revealed.
Japan made the decision out of consideration for Japan’s traditionally amicable relationship with Iran, which is knee-deep in conflict with the U.S., and hopes to carefully deliberate other methods of cooperation toward ensuring safety in the region.
The Japanese government had considered the legal framework for dispatching the SDF to the Strait of Hormuz and elsewhere at the request of the U.S. government. It considered two options: sea patrols based on the Self-Defense Forces Act to guard and escort Japan-related tankers; or warning and surveillance in the name of investigation and research under the Act for Establishment of the Ministry of Defense.
If, however, Japan were to dispatch SDF vessels as part of the U.S.-led coalition, which sees itself as an anti-Iran alliance, Japan would be unable to avoid pushback from Iran. If an SDF ship were to be attacked, the situation could escalate into a large-scale military conflict. Taking such risks into consideration, the Japanese government concluded that it was appropriate at this point to shelve the dispatch of SDF vessels to the Strait of Hormuz and surrounding area.
“The most important thing is to not allow the route for crude oil transport to Japan to be cut off,” a source connected to the Japanese Foreign Ministry said. “Dispatching (SDF) vessels would not reduce tensions, but rather has the potential for increasing them.”
Another government source said, “It’s Japan’s priority to make use of its friendly ties with Iran as a special bargaining card in efforts to secure the safety of the strait.”
Japan, however, has kept its options open for cooperating with the U.S., its closest ally.