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Pompeo says new Japanese leader Suga is a 'force for good'

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) arrives to attend a meeting with Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (not seen) in Tokyo on October 6, 2020 ahead of the four Indo-Pacific nations' foreign ministers meeting. Charly Triballeau/Pool via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday hailed new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as a “force for good” and said he believes Suga will work to strengthen the relationship between Washington and Tokyo.

Pompeo made the remarks at the start of a meeting with Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi and the comments were carried live online by broadcaster NHK. Motegi told Pompeo that there was no change to Japan’s policy to strengthen its alliance with the United States.

Pompeo is in Japan to meet with Asian and Indo-Pacific counterparts as Washington looks to solidify support among regional allies amid diplomatic and economic disputes with China.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger