Partnerships

Mattis Confers With Chinese, Southeast Asian Officials

Oct. 18, 2018 | BY Jim Garamone

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis is making his eighth trip to the Indo-Asia-Pacific area to help tend the many partnerships and alliances the U.S. maintains in that important region.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis shakes hands with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe.
Leaders Meet
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers’ meeting in Singapore, Oct. 18, 2018.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando
VIRIN: 181018-D-BN624-0068C

He is attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers Meeting in Singapore as a way to improve cooperation. The association - made up of Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Singapore - seeks to spur economic growth in the area through the rule of law.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Vietnamese officials look at a map of a dioxin-contaminated site.
Contamination Site
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Vietnamese officials next to a dioxin-contaminated site at Bien Hoa Air Base outside Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Oct. 17, 2018.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando
VIRIN: 181017-D-BN624-0194C

The secretary also held individual meetings with China's Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe where Mattis once again made it clear the United States plans to work with China where possible and is looking for ways to cooperate more. He also made it clear the United States will continue freedom of navigation operations in spite of China building artificial islands and arming those facilities.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen
Defense Ministers' Meeting
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers’ meeting in Singapore, Oct. 18, 2018.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando
VIRIN: 181018-D-BN624-0164C

Before arriving in Singapore, Mattis visited Vietnam where he met with Vietnamese counterparts and examined plans to clean up Agent Orange contamination from the Vietnam War. The defoliant that U.S. service members sprayed on the triple-canopy jungle from aircraft, contained cancer-causing dioxin.