Abe Meets New Pentagon Chief Esper

Abe meets new Pentagon chief Esper

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper have agreed to strengthen the alliance between the two countries. Esper voiced concern over China, and also said that the US is committed to North Korea's denuclearization.

The meeting took place at the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo on Wednesday. Esper is on his first visit to Japan since assuming his post in July.

Abe said the Japan-US alliance is stronger than ever before. He said he hopes to further strengthen the alliance and continue the two countries' cooperation to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Esper said the bilateral alliance is ironclad and critical to a free, open and secure Indo-Pacific.

The US defense chief expressed concern over China, saying it continues to destabilize the region.

He said Beijing's, "military aggression and calculated strategy of predatory economics violate the international rules-based order that we intend to uphold."

Esper said North Korea also remains a great concern. He thanked Japan for its assistance in enforcing UN Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Pyongyang.

Esper added that the United States is committed to the goal of the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.