05 June 2017

News Story: US Defense Secretary Mattis seeks to reassure Asian allies at Shangri-La Dialogue

US SecDef Jim Mattis
By: Mike Yeo

SINGAPORE — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis used his address at a regional security summit in Asia to again criticize North Korea’s continued destabilization of the region with its nuclear program, while reassuring nervous allies that the United State will continue to seek to strengthen its alliances and commitment to the region. 

In his speech, Mattis also urged China to follow through with action its stated desire to see North Korea denuclearize, but pledged that the United States will "engage China diplomatically and economically to ensure our relationship is beneficial." 

Mattis, speaking at the first plenary session of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, also touched on the threat of terrorism to the region, emphasizing the need to “defeat extremist organizations wherever they attempt to establish roots.” 

As expected, Mattis saved his harshest words for North Korea, calling its nuclear weapons program a threat to all, and taking the Kim Jong-un regime to task for its “long record of murder of diplomats, of kidnapping, killing of sailors, and criminal activity.” 

Highlighting that “the United States regards the threat from North Korea as a clear and present danger," Mattis also noted that the Pyongyang regime has been increasing the pace and scope of its efforts in the continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. 

He repeated that the United States will continue working with the United Nations, allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure “until Pyongyang finally and permanently abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.” 

Read the full story at DefenseNews