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Carter Discusses Security Issues With Asia-Pacific Defense Leaders

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U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with a several defense leaders from Asia-Pacific nations today in Singapore during the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major annual forum for key leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss security challenges and opportunities. They discussed various issues related to mutual security and cooperation in the region, according to several DoD news releases.

Carter met with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister of Defense Ng Eng Hen. The leaders discussed the status of the U.S.-Singapore defense relationship, recent regional security trends, and the importance of the Shangri-La Dialogue, according to a release.

Carter also met with Malaysian Minister of Defense Datuk Seri Hishammuddin and congratulated Malaysia on its successful chairmanship of ASEAN, pointing to a host of recent ASEAN initiatives which have successfully bolstered regional security, including cooperation in humanitarian and disaster relief, peacekeeping, anti-piracy, and counterterrorism, according to a release.

The U.S. defense secretary also met with Australian Minister of Defense Kevin Andrews and thanked him for Australia’s ongoing contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan, emphasizing that Australian support of the Taji Building Partner Capacity mission will significantly bolster Iraq’s counter-ISIL operations, according to a release.

The defense secretary also met with Japanese Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani to discuss security challenges and opportunities. Carter thanked Nakatani for his continued support of the U.S.-Japan alliance. The two leaders discussed a wide range of regional and global security issues, including implementation of the new Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation, according to a release.

In addition, Carter took part in a trilateral ministerial defense talk with Nakatani and Andrews. The defense ministers from Japan and Australia reaffirmed the strength of their respective alliances with the United States as essential to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, and underscored their enduring support for the U.S. rebalance to the region. The secretary and ministers also exchanged views on the regional security situation, according to a release. 

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