Mattis, Australian Counterpart Discuss Defense Relationship, Challenges
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosted Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne for a bilateral meeting at the Pentagon yesterday to discuss the defense relationship between their nations and the regional security challenges they continue to face, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, White said Mattis expressed his sincere and deep appreciation to Payne for Australia's assistance in the search, rescue and recovery efforts following the early August MV-22 Osprey incident that took the lives of three Marines off the Australian coast.
100 Years of 'Mateship'
"Secretary Mattis also highlighted the upcoming celebration of the first hundred years of 'Mateship' that underpins the ironclad Australia-U.S. alliance," White said, referring to the close bond formed between the United States and Australia when their troops fought side by side during World War I. "The relationship is built from tight bonds of trust, respect and friendship."
The two leaders also discussed concerns about destabilizing actions in the South China Sea and the threat posed by North Korea, White said. "They emphasized the importance of the international community coming together to hold Kim Jong-Un's regime accountable and pressuring North Korea to give up their illegal nuclear weapons program," she added.
Mattis and Payne also reaffirmed their continued commitment and support to address the growing threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other extremist groups, particularly in Southeast Asia, she said.