WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met with his Japanese and Indonesian counterparts in Hawaii, May 29, as he was en route to attend the 2018 International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Mattis stopped off in Honolulu to attend the change-of-command ceremony for U.S. Pacific Command, now renamed U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
During his meeting with Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, Mattis and his Japanese counterpart re-affirmed that they remain committed to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear, ballistic missile and chemical and biological programs, DoD spokesperson Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement.
Mattis commended Japan’s lead role disrupting North Korea’s illegal ship-to-ship transfers in the region and for allowing multinational forces to temporarily operate from Japan supporting the enforcement of relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, Davis said.
Free, Open Indo-Pacific Region
Both ministers affirmed a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, Davis said, and the importance of bilateral, trilateral and multilateral relationships and mechanisms to reinforce a networked security architecture that supports the regional order.
Davis said the ministers discussed other regional security issues, including the importance of maritime security; and reaffirmed that freedom of navigation and overflight must be ensured, and that disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner.
Both ministers, he said, noted China’s actions to militarize disputed features run contrary to the goal of a peaceful, rules-based and open Indo-Pacific region.
Davis said Mattis reaffirmed the ironclad U.S. defense commitments to Japan, and pledged U.S. assistance to maintain regional peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
And, during Mattis’ meeting with Indonesian Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu, the two leaders shared views on regional security and emphasized the importance of continued Association of Southeast Asian Nations centrality and close cooperation to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific and safeguard the rules-based international order, Davis said in a statement.
The secretary shared Ryamizard's concerns regarding violent extremism, particularly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-inspired suicide attacks against three churches earlier this month in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city, Davis said. The two leaders agreed on the need to collectively address the shared threat of terrorism and to continue close cooperation with regional stakeholders.
Mattis relayed his deep appreciation for the broad range of U.S.-Indonesia security cooperation and commended the progress of the Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippine trilateral air and maritime patrols of the Sulu and Celebes Seas, Davis said.