WASHINGTON --- Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Indo-Pacific regional leaders discussed security issues during a series of meetings at the 2018 International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, according to officials.
Yesterday, Mattis met with Malaysian Minister of Defense Mohamad bin Sabu, DoD spokesperson Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement. This was the first meeting between the two leaders.
Mattis congratulated the Malaysian minister on his recent appointment, Davis said, and the two leaders reaffirmed building upon a foundation of strong U.S.-Malaysian defense ties by providing an opportunity for both nations to share perspectives on security challenges facing Southeast Asia.
The two leaders discussed cooperation in counterterrorism and maritime security, and opportunities for joint training, Davis said. Mattis reiterated his commitment to working with Malaysia on common security challenges. The meeting set the stage for future engagements between the two leaders.
On June 2, Mattis and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the importance of the U.S.-India relationship, and both nations’ role in cooperating to uphold international laws and principles and to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region, Davis said in a statement.
The two leaders pledged to continue the strong U.S.-India strategic partnership and affirmed their commitment to maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
Also on June 2, Mattis met with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, Davis said in a statement.
The two leaders held in-depth discussions on the U.S.-Philippines alliance and the two nations’ growing bilateral defense relationship, Davis said. Mattis reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the 67-year-old alliance and emphasized the need to build upon the interoperability the two countries militaries have achieved through extensive and regularly planned annual training events.
Mattis also pledged U.S. support for Philippines’ military modernization initiatives, and he reiterated the importance of ensuring the two militaries enhance their ability to operate jointly, Davis said.
Mattis and Lorenzana reviewed the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy and its implications for the alliance, Davis said. Both leaders emphasized the need to keep the Indo-Pacific free and open, he said, and they highlighted the central importance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in upholding the rules-based order.
The two secretaries discussed their commitment to fighting terrorism and reaffirmed U.S. military advisory support to assist the Philippines in combating violent extremist networks, Davis said.
Davis said Mattis and Lorenzana also discussed measures to boost information sharing and maritime domain awareness cooperation between regional partners to help fight the spread of terrorism and other transnational threats.