Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Japan said Wednesday it would cooperate with "nations with shared objectives" and that it is carefully monitoring statements from the South Korean government after both countries deployed troops to maritime areas of the Middle East.
Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters at a regular press briefing cooperation and communication with countries is "extremely important," South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
"We will be monitoring the South Korean government's response," Suga said in reply to a question from the pool regarding the possibility of working with South Korean troops in the Middle East.
Tokyo and Seoul are slowly reconciling differences after a turbulent year of trade tensions and conflict over a military intelligence-sharing agreement. Both U.S. allies have deployed units to a key oil-shipping route near Iran following the request of the Trump administration.
Suga said Wednesday the Japanese deployment is an "independent" measure, but Japanese forces will be exchanging intelligence with U.S. forces, according to reports.
On Wednesday, South Korea deployed an anti-piracy unit in the Gulf of Aden to Hormuz, in order to protect South Korean interests in the area, according to Seoul.
South Korea and Japan have agreed to send liaison officers to the U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct in Manama, Bahrain, South Korean news service News 1 reported Wednesday.
Earlier in January, Japan's defense ministry ordered the deployment of a naval destroyer and two P-3C patrol planes to the Middle East, along with 260 troops of Tokyo's maritime self-defense force.
Japanese destroyer Takanami is assigned to cover the high seas in the Gulf of Oman, the northern area of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.