Mattis reaffirms US’ commitment in Indo-Pacific region

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Singapore, June 1 (IANS) US Defence Secretary James Mattis on Friday reiterated his country’s commitment in the Indo-Pacific region, ahead of an important regional security summit here.

Mattis made te remarks while speaking to defence ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), reports Efe news.

The ministers discussed military cooperation between the Asean and the US, as well as the renewed threat of terrorism posed by the return of Islamic State militants from Iraq and Syria to their native countries.

DefenCe ministers and senior officials from 40 countries are set to inaugurate the Shangri-La forum, the most important one in the Asia-Pacific region, later on Friday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to deliver the opening speech at the forum, which will conclude on Sunday at the Shangri-La hotel.

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Mattis will address the plenary session of the forum on Saturday, to be attended by more than 600 delegates from China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Canada, the UK, France, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The agenda of the summit is expected to be dominated by an upcoming meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scheduled to be held on June 12 in Singapore, to discuss denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

The agenda also includes discussions on territorial disputes between China and several Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea, and the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

The Asean, founded in 1967, is made up of Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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–IANS

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