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Mattis Arrives in Singapore to Speak at Security Conference

By Cheryl Pellerin | | June 2, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Singapore today to speak at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an Asia-focused defense summit of ministers and delegates from more than 50 countries, to discuss security challenges and opportunities.‎

Mattis will meet with regional allies and counterparts to discuss common security issues.

This is the secretary's second trip to the Asia-Pacific region since January. His first trip was to South Korea and Japan.

Dynamic Security Environment

En route to Singapore, David F. Helvey, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, briefed reporters traveling with Mattis on topics that would arise during the 16th meeting of the Institute for International Strategic Studies'-sponsored conference.

"This trip is coming at a particularly important time," Helvey said. The Asia-Pacific region is a dynamic security environment, he added, with concern over rising challenges from North Korea and the threat posed by its nuclear and ballistic missile developments, as well as concern over China's rise and its assertive behavior, particularly in the maritime area.

Helvey said Mattis' trips to the region, along with those by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence, have demonstrated and reinforced the U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

Asia-Pacific Commitment

The secretary will deliver a speech outlining some of his views and perspectives on U.S. defense policy and strategy in the Asia-Pacific, and he will have bilateral and multilateral meetings with allies and partners across the region, Helvey added. Mattis also will meet with several defense ministers, counterparts and representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN was formed in 1967 to promote economic growth and regional stability among its members, which are Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Mattis' engagement in representing the United States in the region will be an opportunity for him "to underscore the commitment that we have to the Asia-Pacific region, and to encourage greater contributions and shared responsibility among our allies and partners across the region in pursuit of common interests, including contributions for their own self-defense," Helvey said.

The secretary also plans to discuss how the United States is broadening and deepening its defense cooperation across the region in countering piracy, in maritime security and in maritime domain awareness, Helvey told reporters.