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Japan, Britain to postpone security talks amid Brexit deadlock

In this Jan. 10, 2019 photo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, front right, and his British counterpart Theresa May are pictured before receiving a guard of honor in London. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan and Britain have decided to postpone their ministerial security talks scheduled for next week, a Japanese government source said Wednesday, as the British Parliament continued efforts to end the Brexit impasse.

The fourth "two-plus-two" meeting between the two countries' foreign and defense ministers planned for Monday in Tokyo will be rescheduled by the end of May, the source said.

The British government proposed earlier in the week to postpone the meeting, citing parliamentary duties of Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, according to the source.

They are to discuss closer defense cooperation including expanded joint training with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya.

Japan and Britain last held such security talks in December 2017 in London.

With the aim of promoting a "free and open Indo-Pacific" region amid China's growing maritime assertiveness, Japan wants to see Britain more deeply committed to the region, according to government sources.

In January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his British counterpart Theresa May agreed in their meeting in London to hold the two-plus-two meeting in spring in Tokyo.

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