Singapore – US Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met with several Indo-Pacific leaders on the sidelines of the 2018 International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Mattis met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Shangri-La Dialogue on June 2. The two discussed the importance of the US-India relationship, and the role of both nations in cooperating to uphold international laws and principles and to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.
According to the Secretary of Defense Spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis, “The Prime Minister and Secretary pledged to continue the strong US-India strategic partnership and affirmed their commitment to maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”
Earlier during Mattis’ meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the two leaders reaffirmed the excellent and long-standing bilateral defense relationship between the United States and Singapore, spokesperson Davis said in a statement.
Davis said the two leaders exchanged views on the regional security environment and discussed a range of mutual security interests and opportunities for cooperation. With regard to the South China Sea, they reaffirmed the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law.
Mattis reaffirmed support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and emphasized the important role ASEAN has to play as part of the US vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, Davis said.
The US appreciates the access Singapore provides to US forces, Mattis said, and he thanked Singapore for offering to host the US-North Korea Summit, according to Davis.
Mattis also met with ministers and heads of delegation from across Southeast Asia, Davis said in a statement, to discuss the United States’ vision and strategy for the Indo-Pacific region and to listen to their perspectives on security challenges and opportunities for increased cooperation.
Davis said Mattis had a robust exchange of views with the ministers and representatives on regional security issues, focusing on counterterrorism and maritime security cooperation and prospects for a peaceful resolution of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Participants welcomed strong US engagement in the region and expressed appreciation for US-ASEAN cooperation, Davis said. Mattis reaffirmed support for ASEAN centrality, and the US vision for a region in which every voice is heard and respected, the spokesman said.
The leaders highlighted the importance of ASEAN speaking with one voice, and welcomed continued progress in fostering practical defense cooperation within the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus framework, and looked forward to the conduct of the sixth ADMM-Plus in October of this year, Davis said.