Secretary of Defense James Mattis and US-Asia Pacific Relations

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Coordinator: Sarah Wang. For methodology, click here.

This resource will track statements, developments, visits and other interactions in U.S.-Asia Pacific relations given or undertaken by Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

To view quotations, debriefs of interactions with Asia Pacific leaders, and media sorted by topic, scroll down or use the links below. To view those made by Secretary Mattis in 2017, visit this page for a historical list

Travel to Asia Pacific Countries Asia Pacific Leaders Asia Pacific Allies & Partners
China/Taiwan Human Rights & Democracy North Korea
South China Sea Southeast Asia/ASEAN Summits - APEC, East Asia (EAS), & US-ASEAN
Trade & Investment    

To view the stances of President Trump, Vice President Pence, United States Trade Representative Lighthizer, Secretary of Defense Mattis, Secretary of State Pompeo, and Secretary of Commerce Ross on various issues in US-Asia Pacific relations, click here.

To view quotations, interviews, and policy documents given by and interactions with Asia Pacific leaders undertaken by President Trump, Vice President Pence, United States Trade Representative Lighthizer, Secretary of State Pompeo, and Secretary of Commerce Ross use the links below.

President Donald J. Trump Vice President Mike Pence
United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross   

To examine Asian reactions to ongoing developments in US-Asia relations and the US 2016 Presidential election, click here.

To explore previous quotations, views on Asia Pacific issues, and other connections to Asia from President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other candidates in the 2016 Presidential Election, click here.

Travel to Asia Pacific Countries

  •  Indonesia Flag. Image: Flaticon Vietnamese flag. Image: Flaticon Indonesia and Vietnam in January 2018.

For a historical list of countries traveled to in 2017, click here.

Asia Pacific Leaders

  • "Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met [on May 12, 2018] with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha to discuss the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said in a statement released yesterday. Kang reviewed the Panmunjom Declaration and the efforts to improve relations between North and South Korea while achieving the common goal of denuclearization, White said in the statement. Mattis and Kang shared hope that the upcoming U.S.-North Korea talks scheduled for June 12 would provide a historic opportunity to reach a diplomatic resolution that achieves complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea, White said. Mattis reaffirmed the ironclad U.S. commitment to defend South Korea using the full spectrum of U.S. capabilities.  Both leaders pledged continued close coordination to implement North Korea-related U.N. Security Council resolutions and to support ongoing diplomatic engagements, the statement said." [Source] Defense Secretary, S. Korean Minister Discuss 'Historic Opportunity.' May 12, 2018
  • "First of all, I don't reconcile.  I deal with how it's -- how it develops.  But there's no wedge between us.  I spent an hour on the phone -- I'm -- no -- nothing less than that -- an hour on the phone, Saturday morning, with my counterpart in Seoul, Minister Song.  We -- and we have maintained that level of what I'd call collaboration or consultation throughout this period, where we're constantly getting all the details, both in advance -- what they're -- anticipate, and then what actually happens.  And we get that feedback almost immediately, by the way. So the alliance is as strong -- if anything, the impetus of this, now, added to the military alliance, is actually strengthening the U.S. and ROK." [Source] Media Availability with Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. April 30, 2018
  • "During a phone conversation between Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo, the two leaders expressed their serious commitment to a diplomatic resolution that achieves complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W. White said." [Source] Mattis, South Korean Defense Minister Discuss North-South Korea Talks. April 28, 2018
  • "Secretary James N. Mattis met with Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence General Prawit Wongsuwan to discuss the U.S.-Thailand defense relationship and regional security issues. Secretary Mattis highlighted the priority the National Defense Strategy places on working with allies and partners to advance common interests and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The leaders reflected on the broad range of U.S.-Thai defense cooperation and discussed opportunities to enhance the alliance's strength and contributions. Secretary Mattis expressed confidence that the future for the Thai people will be positive as they regain their democratic footing.  The leaders expressed support for enhancing maritime security cooperation, multilateral exercises such as COBRA GOLD, and building interoperability through a strong defense trade relationship. The leaders acknowledged a productive year of multiple senior-level engagements between the United States and our oldest ally in Asia, and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the 185-year-old U.S.-Thai alliance." [Source] Readout of Secretary James N. Mattis' meeting with Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence General Prawit Wongsuwan. April 23, 2018
  • "Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met with Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera of Japan at the Pentagon today [April 20, 2018]. In a statement summarizing the meeting, Pentagon officials said the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, and positively noting the increasing role the Japan Self-Defense Force is playing in regional security, including supporting the United Nations Security Council Resolution enforcement and mutual asset protection operations." [Source] Mattis Welcomes Japanese Counterpart, Discusses Regional Security. April 20, 2018
  • "We welcome greater Indonesia leadership and training and interoperability with your neighbors.  We believe it is a stabilizing factor, what you are doing.  Your trilateral cooperation agreement with Malaysia and the Philippines serves as a good model from the North Natuna Sea, to the Sulu Sea and beyond.  We greatly value our military relationship with Indonesia, a like-minded partner with shared democratic values and interests; specifically, that Indonesians are supported in their interest and respect for international law, for territorial integrity in the South China Sea, and for your sovereignty." [Source] Remarks By Secretary Mattis at an honor cordon welcoming Indonesia Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi to the Pentagon. March 26, 2018

  • "Secretary of State for Defence Williamson, Sir Kim, members of the U.K. delegation, welcome to Washington and welcome to the Pentagon. It is a pleasure to continue our conversation following our November meeting in London. [...] And in the face of North Korea’s outlaw actions as well, our nations stand together with all other members of the UNSC, resolved to end the unnecessary and destabilizing provocations." [Source] Remarks at Bilateral Meeting with [United Kingdom] Secretary of State for Defence Williamson. February 1, 2018
  • "The Kim regime [in North Korea] is a threat to the entire world. It's an international problem that requires an international solution. Our response to this threat remains diplomacy-led, backed up with military options available to ensure that our diplomats are understood to be speaking from a position of strength. And, Minister Song, I want to praise your nation's [South Korea] steadfast action, upholding the United Nations sanctions at sea. The Republic of Korea has impounded two ships that were found violating the United Nations resolutions, using ship-to-ship transfer of cargo at sea. As usual, the Republic of Korea leads by example in carrying out the United Nations' sanctions. In so doing, sir, you remind the DPRK that risking its economy to boost its rockets makes it less secure, not more. As two peace-loving nations, the Republic of Korea and America welcome the Olympic Games talks between the ROK and DPRK. And at the same time, remaining steadfast that the international economic pressure campaign can de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Diplomacy should repose reason on Kim's reckless rhetoric and dangerous provocations. So we do not lose sight of the fact that the Olympics talks alone do not address over-arching problems. Accordingly, our combined military stands shoulder to shoulder, ready to defend against any attack on the ROK or USA." [SourceSecretary Mattis Bilat[eral] with ROK [Republic of Korea (South Korea)] MOD [Minister of Defense Song Young-moo]. January 26, 2018

  • "Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Vietnam Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich during an official visit to Vietnam on January 25, 2018. This is the sixth visit to Vietnam by a United States Secretary of Defense and follows Defense Minister Lich's official visit to Washington, D.C., in August 2017. [...] Secretary Mattis highlighted the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which reaffirms the United States' commitment to work with partners such as Vietnam to sustain the rules-based order in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.  He said the United States would continue to assist Vietnam's efforts to deploy a medical unit to the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in the South Sudan later this year.  He also expressed appreciation for Vietnam's close support to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) mission in Hanoi as it works to recover U.S. personnel missing from the war.  The Secretary committed to working with Vietnam to address remaining legacy of war issues." [SourceReadout of Secretary Mattis' Meeting With Vietnam Minister of National Defense. January 25, 2018
  • "Mattis and Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich met today [January 25] to discuss regional security issues. The secretary said he also met with the president of Vietnam and the general secretary of the Communist Party there. 'This is the normal coordination, collaboration, consultation, as we work out a relationship with Vietnam, and leaving things in the past as our starting point,' Mattis told reporters traveling with him en route to Honolulu after leaving Vietnam. He said the United States and Vietnam share values based on mutual respect and common interests, including freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and recognition of national sovereignty." [Source] Mattis Calls U.S., Vietnam 'Like-Minded Partners.' January 25, 2018
  • "Secretary of Defense James Mattis met today [January 23, 2018] with Indonesian Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu in Jakarta, their third meeting since Mattis was sworn in a year ago.  The two leaders discussed the security situation in the region, to include North Korea, the South China Sea and North Natuna Sea, ISIS, and the Rohingya refugee crisis. Mattis noted the importance of the US-Indonesia partnership, recognizing that the two are like-minded partners with diverse populations who share a commitment to democracy, peace, and prosperity. He noted that Indonesia is the "maritime fulcrum" between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and that the US would continue to strengthen its strong military-to-military relationship with Indonesia in the future.  Mattis thanked Indonesia for its efforts to implement international sanctions against North Korea, emphasizing that the issue was still in the diplomatic realm to resolve." [Source] Readout of Secretary Mattis' Meeting With Indonesian Minister of Defense. January 23, 2018

  • "Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan in Vancouver, Canada today [January 16, 2018] on the sidelines of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability of the Korean Peninsula. They discussed the North Korean threat and the importance of maintaining military support to the global diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang." [Source] Readout of Secretary of Defense Mattis' meeting with Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan. January 16, 2018
  • "Defense Secretary James N. Mattis spoke with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera yesterday [January 8, 2017 over the phone] to discuss a range of issues related to the U.S.-Japan alliance. [...They] 'condemned North Korea's reckless and unlawful behavior' [...and Secretary] Mattis reaffirmed the U.S. commitments to Japan’s defense and pledged to work closely with Onodera to bolster critical alliance capabilities." [Source] Mattis, Japanese Counterpart Discuss Alliance. January 10, 2018

For a historical list of meetings with Asia Pacific leaders in 2017, click here.

Asia Pacific Allies & Partners

  • During testimony for the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, Secretary Mattis was questioned by Senator Dick Durbin (IL) about the Trump administration’s South Asian Strategy, which includes increasing outreach to India [the Secretary’s remarks on India begin around 4:34]. [Source] Clipped from C-SPAN coverage of Defense Department Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. May 9, 2018
  • During testimony for the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, Secretary Mattis was questioned by Senator Brian E. Schatz (HI) on how alliances and partnerships within the Indo-Pacific are faring. [Source] Clipped from C-SPAN coverage of Defense Department Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. May 9, 2018
  • During testimony for the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, Secretary Mattis was questioned by Senator Roy Blunt (MO) about US policy towards the two Koreas. [Source] Clipped from C-SPAN coverage of Defense Department Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. May 9, 2018
  • "Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met [on May 12, 2018] with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha to discuss the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said in a statement released yesterday. Kang reviewed the Panmunjom Declaration and the efforts to improve relations between North and South Korea while achieving the common goal of denuclearization, White said in the statement. Mattis and Kang shared hope that the upcoming U.S.-North Korea talks scheduled for June 12 would provide a historic opportunity to reach a diplomatic resolution that achieves complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea, White said. Mattis reaffirmed the ironclad U.S. commitment to defend South Korea using the full spectrum of U.S. capabilities.  Both leaders pledged continued close coordination to implement North Korea-related U.N. Security Council resolutions and to support ongoing diplomatic engagements, the statement said." [SourceDefense Secretary, S. Korean Minister Discuss 'Historic Opportunity.' May 12, 2018
  • "First of all, I don't reconcile.  I deal with how it's -- how it develops.  But there's no wedge between us.  I spent an hour on the phone -- I'm -- no -- nothing less than that -- an hour on the phone, Saturday morning, with my counterpart in Seoul, Minister Song.  We -- and we have maintained that level of what I'd call collaboration or consultation throughout this period, where we're constantly getting all the details, both in advance -- what they're -- anticipate, and then what actually happens.  And we get that feedback almost immediately, by the way. So the alliance is as strong -- if anything, the impetus of this, now, added to the military alliance, is actually strengthening the U.S. and ROK." [SourceMedia Availability with Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. April 30, 2018
  • "During a phone conversation between Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo, the two leaders expressed their serious commitment to a diplomatic resolution that achieves complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W. White said." [SourceMattis, South Korean Defense Minister Discuss North-South Korea Talks. April 28, 2018
  • "Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met with Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera of Japan at the Pentagon today [April 20, 2018]. In a statement summarizing the meeting, Pentagon officials said the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, and positively noting the increasing role the Japan Self-Defense Force is playing in regional security, including supporting the United Nations Security Council Resolution enforcement and mutual asset protection operations." [SourceMattis Welcomes Japanese Counterpart, Discusses Regional Security. April 20, 2018
  • "DPRK [North Korea] -- the -- there's a very methodical process, putting together with our allies, Japan and ROK, Republic of Korea, what the talking points will look like there, the discussion points about what we are going to negotiate over." [SourceMedia Availability with Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. March 27, 2018
  • "We welcome greater Indonesia leadership and training and interoperability with your neighbors.  We believe it is a stabilizing factor, what you are doing.  Your trilateral cooperation agreement with Malaysia and the Philippines serves as a good model from the North Natuna Sea, to the Sulu Sea and beyond.  We greatly value our military relationship with Indonesia, a like-minded partner with shared democratic values and interests; specifically, that Indonesians are supported in their interest and respect for international law, for territorial integrity in the South China Sea, and for your sovereignty." [SourceRemarks By Secretary Mattis at an honor cordon welcoming Indonesia Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi to the Pentagon. March 26, 2018

  • "Yes, I know that people are watching for a wedge between South Korea, Republic of Korea, in other words, and the United States.  There's no wedge there.  They -- staff -- the military staffs are integrated. If you move up to the political level, Admiral Song, Minister of Defense Song, flew into Hawaii when I was out in the Pacific, just so he and I could sit down face to face and consult. He broached it to me.  He said -- as a matter of fact, in his opening remarks he said to the press that there is no wedge; there's no gap at all. So in a political level in Seoul, there is no -- no wedge that can be driven between us by North Korea. Clearly it's too early to say if this -- this -- that if using the Olympics as a non -- using the Olympics in a way to reduce tension, if that's going to have any traction once the Olympics are over.  We can't say right now. [...] I don't know if it's a [good] sign [that North and South Korea are talking].  It's too early for me to tell what he'll [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] do, because in the midst of all of this, he ran a military parade that -- that highlighted his ballistic missiles.  That's a very strange time, if in fact he's trying to show a warming to the country that he has attacked repeatedly as an American puppet, a country that impeached their last president.  It's clearly a democracy.  It runs its own affairs.  So, I -- it's just too early to tell." [Source] On the Record Press Gaggle by Secretary James N. Mattis. February 11, 2018
  • "The Kim regime [in North Korea] is a threat to the entire world. It's an international problem that requires an international solution. Our response to this threat remains diplomacy-led, backed up with military options available to ensure that our diplomats are understood to be speaking from a position of strength. And, Minister Song, I want to praise your nation's [South Korea] steadfast action, upholding the United Nations sanctions at sea. The Republic of Korea has impounded two ships that were found violating the United Nations resolutions, using ship-to-ship transfer of cargo at sea. As usual, the Republic of Korea leads by example in carrying out the United Nations' sanctions. In so doing, sir, you remind the DPRK that risking its economy to boost its rockets makes it less secure, not more. As two peace-loving nations, the Republic of Korea and America welcome the Olympic Games talks between the ROK and DPRK. And at the same time, remaining steadfast that the international economic pressure campaign can de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Diplomacy should repose reason on Kim's reckless rhetoric and dangerous provocations. So we do not lose sight of the fact that the Olympics talks alone do not address over-arching problems. Accordingly, our combined military stands shoulder to shoulder, ready to defend against any attack on the ROK or USA." [Source] Secretary Mattis Bilat[eral] with ROK [Republic of Korea (South Korea)] MOD [Minister of Defense Song Young-moo]. January 26, 2018

  • "The defense of South Korea is a treaty alliance with us.  There is not a peace treaty.  There is only an armistice right now.  So, from the day the fight -- fighting ended in 1953, there's been military forces along the -- what we call the Demilitarized Zone -- all along the southern side of that. And, numerous times, North Korea has violated that over the years, and out in the waters, and even against airliners -- civilian airliners, that sort of thing.  So those military options remain, since 1953, in place.  They remain there today.  We could fight tonight, shoulder to shoulder with the Koreans -- or South Koreans, if they're attacked." [Source] Media Availability with Secretary Mattis en route to Hawaii. January 25, 2018
  • "This is the normal coordination, collaboration, consultation, as we work out a relationship with Vietnam, and leaving things in the past as our starting point.  We're still working on removing, mediating the effects of the war.  We signed, two days ago, a memorandum of intent to start addressing the Bien Hoa Air Base ground contamination. So, we're dealing with those things in respect to the past, but it is definitely a forward-looking -- (inaudible) -- relationship, military-to-military relationship, going -- you know, I met with the minister of defense, my counterpart.  I also met with the president of Vietnam, and the secretary -- the general secretary of the Communist Party there.  All were positive and transparent and warm engagements. You know, we see ourselves having common ground.  Neither one of us liked to be colonized, and so, you know, we've got like-minded partners between the two of us with shared values in determining free and international order -- open international order; the rule of law, international law, in this case; freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the East Sea; and as you heard, we're finally finalizing details on the possible visit of U.S. carriers going to Vietnam sometime this spring.  Still have to finalize the details at this time.  It's not final, but it all looked very encouraging." [Source] Media Availability with Secretary Mattis en route to Hawaii. January 25, 2018
  • "Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Vietnam Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich during an official visit to Vietnam on January 25, 2018. This is the sixth visit to Vietnam by a United States Secretary of Defense and follows Defense Minister Lich's official visit to Washington, D.C., in August 2017. [...] Secretary Mattis highlighted the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which reaffirms the United States' commitment to work with partners such as Vietnam to sustain the rules-based order in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.  He said the United States would continue to assist Vietnam's efforts to deploy a medical unit to the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in the South Sudan later this year.  He also expressed appreciation for Vietnam's close support to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) mission in Hanoi as it works to recover U.S. personnel missing from the war.  The Secretary committed to working with Vietnam to address remaining legacy of war issues." [SourceReadout of Secretary Mattis' Meeting With Vietnam Minister of National Defense. January 25, 2018
  • "Mattis and Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich met today [January 25] to discuss regional security issues. The secretary said he also met with the president of Vietnam and the general secretary of the Communist Party there. 'This is the normal coordination, collaboration, consultation, as we work out a relationship with Vietnam, and leaving things in the past as our starting point,' Mattis told reporters traveling with him en route to Honolulu after leaving Vietnam. He said the United States and Vietnam share values based on mutual respect and common interests, including freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and recognition of national sovereignty." [SourceMattis Calls U.S., Vietnam 'Like-Minded Partners.' January 25, 2018

  • "Also have to pay my respects there and thank them [Vietnam] for their support on the DPRK issue.  They have been supporting the United Nations sanctions at some cost to them, and so we appreciate the leadership on that leading by example and stepping up." [Source] Media Availability by Secretary Mattis En Route to Vietnam. January 24, 2018
  • "On our way now into Vietnam.  And I think that as you look at many of the freedom of navigation issues in the South China Sea, if you look at the geography of the archipelago of Indonesia and then you just go up the map a little ways -- I'm just going to pull your things off of there -- and you look at how here is the South China Sea and you look at Vietnam's coast, you can understand why many of the freedom of navigation issues are finding geographic similarities, what I mean there, okay.  That's just the reality of geography.  It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to figure that out. But it does have one of the region's fastest-growing economies, and so freedom of navigation and access in the South China Sea will be critical to them economically, of course, and their security efforts." [SourceMedia Availability by Secretary Mattis En Route to Vietnam. January 24, 2018
  • "Secretary of Defense James Mattis met today [January 23, 2018] with Indonesian Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu in Jakarta, their third meeting since Mattis was sworn in a year ago.  The two leaders discussed the security situation in the region, to include North Korea, the South China Sea and North Natuna Sea, ISIS, and the Rohingya refugee crisis. Mattis noted the importance of the US-Indonesia partnership, recognizing that the two are like-minded partners with diverse populations who share a commitment to democracy, peace, and prosperity. He noted that Indonesia is the "maritime fulcrum" between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and that the US would continue to strengthen its strong military-to-military relationship with Indonesia in the future.  Mattis thanked Indonesia for its efforts to implement international sanctions against North Korea, emphasizing that the issue was still in the diplomatic realm to resolve." [Source] Readout of Secretary Mattis' Meeting With Indonesian Minister of Defense. January 23, 2018
  • "But again, this'll be my first time in Indonesia as the secretary of defense, so I'll be doing a lot of listening.  We'll move from there into Vietnam and there, some of the big issues there, just so you're thinking about what you want to ask me about there, freedom of navigation, obviously, in the South China Sea, the respect for international rule of law and respect for national sovereignty. So we share the Pacific.  It's an ocean named for peace, we would like to see it remain peaceful so all the nations that use it, that live here are -- are prosperous.  Very vibrant and diverse region, but it can be made safe for prosperity and for large nations and small without sacrificing any -- anything in terms of national equities.  So that's why we're -- why I'm going out there." [SourcePress Gaggle by Secretary Mattis En Route to Indonesia. January 22, 2018
  • "I first will stop in Jakarta when we -- when we land and -- and see President Jokowi and the minister of defense there, Minister Ryamizard.  This is a very strategic partnership with the third largest democracy in the world.  It's the most populous Muslim nation in the world and it's the largest archipelago, stretching across the South China Sea and as you know, all the way to the Indian Ocean. We're going to continue our efforts to maritime -- maritime cooperation, but also support Indonesia as a sort of fulcrum between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.  So international trade flows through there and a democracy like this, we have a lot, obviously, to start with that we can -- that -- that gives us a basis for getting along with each other and working together." [SourcePress Gaggle by Secretary Mattis En Route to Indonesia. January 22, 2018
  • "We probably engage with the Indonesian military more than any other nation anywhere in terms of mil-to-mil engagements." [SourcePress Gaggle by Secretary Mattis En Route to Indonesia. January 22, 2018

  • "Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan in Vancouver, Canada today [January 16, 2018] on the sidelines of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability of the Korean Peninsula. They discussed the North Korean threat and the importance of maintaining military support to the global diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang." [SourceReadout of Secretary of Defense Mattis' meeting with Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan. January 16, 2018
  • "Defense Secretary James N. Mattis spoke with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera yesterday [January 8, 2017 over the phone] to discuss a range of issues related to the U.S.-Japan alliance. [...They] 'condemned North Korea's reckless and unlawful behavior' [...and Secretary] Mattis reaffirmed the U.S. commitments to Japan’s defense and pledged to work closely with Onodera to bolster critical alliance capabilities." [SourceMattis, Japanese Counterpart Discuss Alliance. January 10, 2017
  • "Well, the diplomats have got to resolve this is the bottom line. And we've -- the same as China -- the PRC as China, South Korea, Japan, the United States -- it's the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. There are no nukes in South Korea. So that makes it rather clear what needs to happen." [Source] Media Availability by Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. January 5, 2018
  • "It would be if the other nations that are involved were in the room, but in fact they're not. This is simply South and North Korea. And so the right countries aren't in the room to go further. I don't think it's a missed opportunity. I think it's an initial willingness to on the part of DPRK to discuss anything. You've seen them unwilling to discuss anything. So it's taken for what it is."  [SourceMedia Availability by Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. January 5, 2018
  • "Yes, and we are going to deconflict [military exercises with South Korea] with the Olympics, both the regular Olympics and the Paralympics as I said yesterday in here. I know you weren't here. The idea is that for logistics reasons to just to keep everything smooth there, we're not going to be running exercises, defensive wholly defensive exercises as always. They're not offensive. We're not going to run them at the same time. There's enough traffic on the roads, enough people trying to get around the country to the various locations not to run truck convoys and military exercises and shut down roads -- all the normal things that are associated with military exercises. We will deconflict all the way through the Paralympics and probably not just to that moment but a day or so afterwards, you know, as people depart for home. And then after that we'll work it out, ROK to U.S. government, and our militaries will work it out. They are the host country, and we have always done this sort of thing if they had something come up natural, you know, bad weather or whatever that caused them more logistics problems. This is not that unusual."  [SourceMedia Availability by Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. January 5, 2018
  • "And this is by South Korean leadership telling us this, not just Minister of Defense Song, my counterpart, but others as well. So, no, we are not concerned. The Olympics we, you know, the Olympics have had a long history of trying to be kept separate from politics. And this, as you know, has happened before where the North and South Koreans have marched together in an Olympics. So the only thing they're talking about in this discussion coming up according to the South Koreans who will be engaged in directing that is the Olympics. There's nothing where they can drive a wedge at all." [SourceMedia Availability by Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. January 5, 2018
  •  "Joint South Korean-U.S. military exercises have been “deconflicted” with the Winter Olympics, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said here today. [...] 'Exercises are not just done on military bases in defense of [South Korea],” Mattis told reporters. “So we worked with [the South Koreans] on it and [the exercises] will start sometime … after the Paralympics.'” [Source] Mattis Discusses U.S.-South Korean Exercises, Iran Protests. January 4, 2018
  • "The de-confliction of the drill [between South Korean and US troops ahead of the Winter Olympics, which South Korea is hosting] is a de-confliction of the drill with the ongoing - the logistics - all the pressure on their system, whether it be police who have to be in places to direct traffic - they're usually in position to direct military traffic and keep that safe, you know.  So, it's just the normal de-confliction there.  I wouldn't read too much into it because we don't know if it's a genuine olive branch or not [remarks by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that suggested, among other things, the sending of a North Korean delegation to the Olympics].  Obviously, we have to be open to anything that would implement a diplomatic solution." [Source] Press Gaggle with Secretary Mattis. January 4, 2018

For a historical list of statements and policies in 2017, click here

China/Taiwan

  • During testimony for the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, Secretary Mattis was questioned by Senator Steve Daines (MT) on threats posed by China. [Source] Clipped from C-SPAN coverage of Defense Department Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. May 9, 2018
  • "Nuclear delivery system development over the last eight years shows numerous advances by Russia, China, and North Korea versus the near absence of such activity by the United States, with competitors and adversaries’ developing 34 new systems as compared to only one for the U.S.—the F-35 aircraft." [SourceThe National Defense Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review. February 6, 2018

For a historical list of statements and policies in 2017, click here.

Human Rights & Democracy

 

 For a historical list of statements and policies in 2017, click here.

North Korea

  • During testimony for the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, Secretary Mattis was questioned by Senator Jerry Moran (KS) about the upcoming meeting between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un. [Source] Clipped from C-SPAN coverage of Defense Department Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. May 9, 2018
  • "Well, that's part of the issues that we'll be discussing in the negotiations with our allies first and, of course, with North Korea.  So, I think for right now, we just have to go along with the process, have the negotiations, and not try to make preconditions or presumptions about how it's going to go.  We -- the diplomats are going to have to go to work now. [...] This is about international relations.  This is about negotiations and we will build, through confidence-building measures, a degree of trust if it's going to go forward.  So we'll see how things go.  I don't have a crystal ball. I can tell you we are optimistic right now that there's opportunity here that we have never enjoyed since 1950.  So, we're going to have to see what they produce; but, that's going to take diplomats working and I'm not going to calculate in advance of anything." [Source] Secretary Mattis Hosts an Honor Cordon Welcoming Poland Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszcazk to the Pentagon. April 27, 2018
  • "DPRK [North Korea] -- the -- there's a very methodical process, putting together with our allies, Japan and ROK, Republic of Korea, what the talking points will look like there, the discussion points about what we are going to negotiate over." [Source] Media Availability with Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. March 27, 2018
  • "Yes, I know that people are watching for a wedge between South Korea, Republic of Korea, in other words, and the United States.  There's no wedge there.  They -- staff -- the military staffs are integrated. If you move up to the political level, Admiral Song, Minister of Defense Song, flew into Hawaii when I was out in the Pacific, just so he and I could sit down face to face and consult. He broached it to me.  He said -- as a matter of fact, in his opening remarks he said to the press that there is no wedge; there's no gap at all. So in a political level in Seoul, there is no -- no wedge that can be driven between us by North Korea. Clearly it's too early to say if this -- this -- that if using the Olympics as a non -- using the Olympics in a way to reduce tension, if that's going to have any traction once the Olympics are over.  We can't say right now. [...] I don't know if it's a [good] sign [that North and South Korea are talking].  It's too early for me to tell what he'll [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] do, because in the midst of all of this, he ran a military parade that -- that highlighted his ballistic missiles.  That's a very strange time, if in fact he's trying to show a warming to the country that he has attacked repeatedly as an American puppet, a country that impeached their last president.  It's clearly a democracy.  It runs its own affairs.  So, I -- it's just too early to tell." [Source] On the Record Press Gaggle by Secretary James N. Mattis. February 11, 2018
  • "As far as the situation with Korea, it is firmly in the diplomatic lane.  We have seen much stronger diplomatic action, for example, the last three United Nations Security Council resolutions — unanimous.  And how often do you see France and Russia; PRC, China; and the United States, Great Britain all voting — and other countries — all voting unanimously?  I think that makes it very clear this is firmly in the diplomatic lane." [Source] Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. February 7, 2018
  • "Nuclear delivery system development over the last eight years shows numerous advances by Russia, China, and North Korea versus the near absence of such activity by the United States, with competitors and adversaries’ developing 34 new systems as compared to only one for the U.S.—the F-35 aircraft." [Source] The National Defense Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review. February 6, 2018
  • "Secretary of State for Defence Williamson, Sir Kim, members of the U.K. delegation, welcome to Washington and welcome to the Pentagon. It is a pleasure to continue our conversation following our November meeting in London. [...] And in the face of North Korea’s outlaw actions as well, our nations stand together with all other members of the UNSC, resolved to end the unnecessary and destabilizing provocations." [SourceRemarks at Bilateral Meeting with [United Kingdom] Secretary of State for Defence Williamson. February 1, 2018
  • "The Kim regime [in North Korea] is a threat to the entire world. It's an international problem that requires an international solution. Our response to this threat remains diplomacy-led, backed up with military options available to ensure that our diplomats are understood to be speaking from a position of strength. And, Minister Song, I want to praise your nation's [South Korea] steadfast action, upholding the United Nations sanctions at sea. The Republic of Korea has impounded two ships that were found violating the United Nations resolutions, using ship-to-ship transfer of cargo at sea. As usual, the Republic of Korea leads by example in carrying out the United Nations' sanctions. In so doing, sir, you remind the DPRK that risking its economy to boost its rockets makes it less secure, not more. As two peace-loving nations, the Republic of Korea and America welcome the Olympic Games talks between the ROK and DPRK. And at the same time, remaining steadfast that the international economic pressure campaign can de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Diplomacy should repose reason on Kim's reckless rhetoric and dangerous provocations. So we do not lose sight of the fact that the Olympics talks alone do not address over-arching problems. Accordingly, our combined military stands shoulder to shoulder, ready to defend against any attack on the ROK or USA." [SourceSecretary Mattis Bilat[eral] with ROK [Republic of Korea (South Korea)] MOD [Minister of Defense Song Young-moo]. January 26, 2018
  • "The defense of South Korea is a treaty alliance with us.  There is not a peace treaty.  There is only an armistice right now.  So, from the day the fight -- fighting ended in 1953, there's been military forces along the -- what we call the Demilitarized Zone -- all along the southern side of that. And, numerous times, North Korea has violated that over the years, and out in the waters, and even against airliners -- civilian airliners, that sort of thing.  So those military options remain, since 1953, in place.  They remain there today.  We could fight tonight, shoulder to shoulder with the Koreans -- or South Koreans, if they're attacked." [Source] Media Availability with Secretary Mattis en route to Hawaii. January 25, 2018
  • "Yes, North Korea comes up in our discussions everywhere in the world, because this is a global issue.  You saw a couple weeks -- or -- I guess about it'd be about two weeks ago now, or one week ago, I was in Vancouver, British Columbia, when the secretary of state, the diplomats, got together from the sending states, (inaudible) the troops that sent troops to Korea -- the Korean War in 1950, plus the Republic of Korea and Japan, and Canada and the United States cohosted in Vancouver, British Columbia discussions about the Korea problem and how we keep this in a diplomatically solved portfolio. When I spoke with them it was interesting to hear from a European representative, and again, these were not military -- I was the only military -- no the Canadian minister of defense and I were the only two military representatives in the room.  But the European foreign minister said, our capital is closer to North Korea to Seattle or Washington, D.C.  That was interesting to hear a European leader, saying that.  So that shows that this continues to be a subject wherever we are in the world, as the entire world -- you've seen three unanimous Security Council resolutions on the issue of strengthening sanctions, and this is an ongoing effort, so I'm sure it will come out in both of these countries." [SourcePress Gaggle by Secretary Mattis En Route to Indonesia. January 22, 2018
  • "Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan in Vancouver, Canada today [January 16, 2018] on the sidelines of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability of the Korean Peninsula. They discussed the North Korean threat and the importance of maintaining military support to the global diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang." [SourceReadout of Secretary of Defense Mattis' meeting with Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan. January 16, 2018
  • "Our problem is not with the North Korean people.  Our problem is with Kim and his regime.  But that is the regime in power that we must deal with." [SourceMedia Availability with Secretary Mattis en route to Vancouver, Canada. January 15, 2018
  • "My point is that it is the combined policy of Russia, China, ROK, Japan, the United States that all of us have a denuclearized -- verifiable denuclearized Korean Peninsula.  And how often do you see Russia and China and the U.S. and U.K. all voting, not once, not twice, but three times? So, you see this is a continuation -- this meeting in Vancouver tomorrow is a continuation of a diplomatic effort. They're trying to further align the coordination coming in now and intensify the international campaign of economic pressure on DPRK.  It is a global problem requiring a global solution." [SourceMedia Availability with Secretary Mattis en route to Vancouver, Canada. January 15, 2018
  • "Well, the diplomats have got to resolve this is the bottom line. And we've -- the same as China -- the PRC as China, South Korea, Japan, the United States -- it's the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. There are no nukes in South Korea. So that makes it rather clear what needs to happen." [SourceMedia Availability by Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. January 5, 2018
  • "It would be if the other nations that are involved were in the room, but in fact they're not. This is simply South and North Korea. And so the right countries aren't in the room to go further. I don't think it's a missed opportunity. I think it's an initial willingness to on the part of DPRK to discuss anything. You've seen them unwilling to discuss anything. So it's taken for what it is."  [SourceMedia Availability by Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon. January 5, 2018
  • "The de-confliction of the drill [between South Korean and US troops ahead of the Winter Olympics, which South Korea is hosting] is a de-confliction of the drill with the ongoing - the logistics - all the pressure on their system, whether it be police who have to be in places to direct traffic - they're usually in position to direct military traffic and keep that safe, you know.  So, it's just the normal de-confliction there.  I wouldn't read too much into it because we don't know if it's a genuine olive branch or not [remarks by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that suggested, among other things, the sending of a North Korean delegation to the Olympics].  Obviously, we have to be open to anything that would implement a diplomatic solution." [Source] Press Gaggle with Secretary Mattis. January 4, 2018
  • "In terms of is it one-off from him [Kim Jong Un, regarding comments he made that signal potential outreach to South Korea] or a real olive branch, I don't know.  It shows again that the democracies and the nations that are trying to keep this from going to war and stopping the provocations of nuclear weapon development, of ballistic missile launches and that sort of thing are united and trying to keep this thing in a solution - a diplomatic solution vein. But when you look at the last year of the rhetoric that has come out of Pyongyang, when you look at what has happened over the efforts to try to get him to stop shooting off missiles over the top of another nation - that sort of thing - nothing seems to have worked until you see the United Nations Security Council now three times in a row voting unanimously.  And that, remind you, PRC, China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States - a dozen other countries - have all voted unanimously three times. You have noticed that South Korea has now impounded two ships that were caught violating the United Nations sanctions.  It is difficult for me to disassociate that he's now wanting to negotiate on any issue with months and months of unanimous United Nations Security Council effort." [Source] Press Gaggle with Secretary Mattis. January 4, 2018

For a historical list of statements and policies in 2017, click here.

South China Sea

  • "We welcome greater Indonesia leadership and training and interoperability with your neighbors.  We believe it is a stabilizing factor, what you are doing.  Your trilateral cooperation agreement with Malaysia and the Philippines serves as a good model from the North Natuna Sea, to the Sulu Sea and beyond.  We greatly value our military relationship with Indonesia, a like-minded partner with shared democratic values and interests; specifically, that Indonesians are supported in their interest and respect for international law, for territorial integrity in the South China Sea, and for your sovereignty." [SourceRemarks By Secretary Mattis at an honor cordon welcoming Indonesia Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi to the Pentagon. March 26, 2018
  • "This is the normal coordination, collaboration, consultation, as we work out a relationship with Vietnam, and leaving things in the past as our starting point.  We're still working on removing, mediating the effects of the war.  We signed, two days ago, a memorandum of intent to start addressing the Bien Hoa Air Base ground contamination. So, we're dealing with those things in respect to the past, but it is definitely a forward-looking -- (inaudible) -- relationship, military-to-military relationship, going -- you know, I met with the minister of defense, my counterpart.  I also met with the president of Vietnam, and the secretary -- the general secretary of the Communist Party there.  All were positive and transparent and warm engagements. You know, we see ourselves having common ground.  Neither one of us liked to be colonized, and so, you know, we've got like-minded partners between the two of us with shared values in determining free and international order -- open international order; the rule of law, international law, in this case; freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the East Sea; and as you heard, we're finally finalizing details on the possible visit of U.S. carriers going to Vietnam sometime this spring.  Still have to finalize the details at this time.  It's not final, but it all looked very encouraging." [Source] Media Availability with Secretary Mattis en route to Hawaii. January 25, 2018
  • "On our way now into Vietnam.  And I think that as you look at many of the freedom of navigation issues in the South China Sea, if you look at the geography of the archipelago of Indonesia and then you just go up the map a little ways -- I'm just going to pull your things off of there -- and you look at how here is the South China Sea and you look at Vietnam's coast, you can understand why many of the freedom of navigation issues are finding geographic similarities, what I mean there, okay.  That's just the reality of geography.  It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to figure that out. But it does have one of the region's fastest-growing economies, and so freedom of navigation and access in the South China Sea will be critical to them economically, of course, and their security efforts." [Source] Media Availability by Secretary Mattis En Route to Vietnam. January 24, 2018

For a historical list of statements and policies in 2017, click here.

Southeast Asia/ASEAN

  • "Secretary James N. Mattis met with Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence General Prawit Wongsuwan to discuss the U.S.-Thailand defense relationship and regional security issues. Secretary Mattis highlighted the priority the National Defense Strategy places on working with allies and partners to advance common interests and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The leaders reflected on the broad range of U.S.-Thai defense cooperation and discussed opportunities to enhance the alliance's strength and contributions. Secretary Mattis expressed confidence that the future for the Thai people will be positive as they regain their democratic footing.  The leaders expressed support for enhancing maritime security cooperation, multilateral exercises such as COBRA GOLD, and building interoperability through a strong defense trade relationship. The leaders acknowledged a productive year of multiple senior-level engagements between the United States and our oldest ally in Asia, and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the 185-year-old U.S.-Thai alliance." [SourceReadout of Secretary James N. Mattis' meeting with Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence General Prawit Wongsuwan. April 23, 2018
  • "We welcome greater Indonesia leadership and training and interoperability with your neighbors.  We believe it is a stabilizing factor, what you are doing.  Your trilateral cooperation agreement with Malaysia and the Philippines serves as a good model from the North Natuna Sea, to the Sulu Sea and beyond.  We greatly value our military relationship with Indonesia, a like-minded partner with shared democratic values and interests; specifically, that Indonesians are supported in their interest and respect for international law, for territorial integrity in the South China Sea, and for your sovereignty." [SourceRemarks By Secretary Mattis at an honor cordon welcoming Indonesia Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi to the Pentagon. March 26, 2018

  • "This is the normal coordination, collaboration, consultation, as we work out a relationship with Vietnam, and leaving things in the past as our starting point.  We're still working on removing, mediating the effects of the war.  We signed, two days ago, a memorandum of intent to start addressing the Bien Hoa Air Base ground contamination. So, we're dealing with those things in respect to the past, but it is definitely a forward-looking -- (inaudible) -- relationship, military-to-military relationship, going -- you know, I met with the minister of defense, my counterpart.  I also met with the president of Vietnam, and the secretary -- the general secretary of the Communist Party there.  All were positive and transparent and warm engagements. You know, we see ourselves having common ground.  Neither one of us liked to be colonized, and so, you know, we've got like-minded partners between the two of us with shared values in determining free and international order -- open international order; the rule of law, international law, in this case; freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the East Sea; and as you heard, we're finally finalizing details on the possible visit of U.S. carriers going to Vietnam sometime this spring.  Still have to finalize the details at this time.  It's not final, but it all looked very encouraging." [Source] Media Availability with Secretary Mattis en route to Hawaii. January 25, 2018
  • "Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Vietnam Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich during an official visit to Vietnam on January 25, 2018. This is the sixth visit to Vietnam by a United States Secretary of Defense and follows Defense Minister Lich's official visit to Washington, D.C., in August 2017. [...] Secretary Mattis highlighted the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which reaffirms the United States' commitment to work with partners such as Vietnam to sustain the rules-based order in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.  He said the United States would continue to assist Vietnam's efforts to deploy a medical unit to the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in the South Sudan later this year.  He also expressed appreciation for Vietnam's close support to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) mission in Hanoi as it works to recover U.S. personnel missing from the war.  The Secretary committed to working with Vietnam to address remaining legacy of war issues." [Source] Readout of Secretary Mattis' Meeting With Vietnam Minister of National Defense. January 25, 2018
  • "Mattis and Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich met today [January 25] to discuss regional security issues. The secretary said he also met with the president of Vietnam and the general secretary of the Communist Party there. 'This is the normal coordination, collaboration, consultation, as we work out a relationship with Vietnam, and leaving things in the past as our starting point,' Mattis told reporters traveling with him en route to Honolulu after leaving Vietnam. He said the United States and Vietnam share values based on mutual respect and common interests, including freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and recognition of national sovereignty." [SourceMattis Calls U.S., Vietnam 'Like-Minded Partners.' January 25, 2018

  • "Also have to pay my respects there and thank them [Vietnam] for their support on the DPRK issue.  They have been supporting the United Nations sanctions at some cost to them, and so we appreciate the leadership on that leading by example and stepping up." [Source] Media Availability by Secretary Mattis En Route to Vietnam. January 24, 2018
  • "On our way now into Vietnam.  And I think that as you look at many of the freedom of navigation issues in the South China Sea, if you look at the geography of the archipelago of Indonesia and then you just go up the map a little ways -- I'm just going to pull your things off of there -- and you look at how here is the South China Sea and you look at Vietnam's coast, you can understand why many of the freedom of navigation issues are finding geographic similarities, what I mean there, okay.  That's just the reality of geography.  It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to figure that out. But it does have one of the region's fastest-growing economies, and so freedom of navigation and access in the South China Sea will be critical to them economically, of course, and their security efforts." [SourceMedia Availability by Secretary Mattis En Route to Vietnam. January 24, 2018
  • "Secretary of Defense James Mattis met today [January 23, 2018] with Indonesian Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu in Jakarta, their third meeting since Mattis was sworn in a year ago.  The two leaders discussed the security situation in the region, to include North Korea, the South China Sea and North Natuna Sea, ISIS, and the Rohingya refugee crisis. Mattis noted the importance of the US-Indonesia partnership, recognizing that the two are like-minded partners with diverse populations who share a commitment to democracy, peace, and prosperity. He noted that Indonesia is the "maritime fulcrum" between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and that the US would continue to strengthen its strong military-to-military relationship with Indonesia in the future.  Mattis thanked Indonesia for its efforts to implement international sanctions against North Korea, emphasizing that the issue was still in the diplomatic realm to resolve." [Source] Readout of Secretary Mattis' Meeting With Indonesian Minister of Defense. January 23, 2018
  • "But again, this'll be my first time in Indonesia as the secretary of defense, so I'll be doing a lot of listening.  We'll move from there into Vietnam and there, some of the big issues there, just so you're thinking about what you want to ask me about there, freedom of navigation, obviously, in the South China Sea, the respect for international rule of law and respect for national sovereignty. So we share the Pacific.  It's an ocean named for peace, we would like to see it remain peaceful so all the nations that use it, that live here are -- are prosperous.  Very vibrant and diverse region, but it can be made safe for prosperity and for large nations and small without sacrificing any -- anything in terms of national equities.  So that's why we're -- why I'm going out there." [SourcePress Gaggle by Secretary Mattis En Route to Indonesia. January 22, 2018
  • "I first will stop in Jakarta when we -- when we land and -- and see President Jokowi and the minister of defense there, Minister Ryamizard.  This is a very strategic partnership with the third largest democracy in the world.  It's the most populous Muslim nation in the world and it's the largest archipelago, stretching across the South China Sea and as you know, all the way to the Indian Ocean. We're going to continue our efforts to maritime -- maritime cooperation, but also support Indonesia as a sort of fulcrum between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.  So international trade flows through there and a democracy like this, we have a lot, obviously, to start with that we can -- that -- that gives us a basis for getting along with each other and working together." [SourcePress Gaggle by Secretary Mattis En Route to Indonesia. January 22, 2018
  • "We probably engage with the Indonesian military more than any other nation anywhere in terms of mil-to-mil engagements." [Source] Press Gaggle by Secretary Mattis En Route to Indonesia. January 22, 2018

For a historical list of statements and policies in 2017, click here.

Summits - APEC, East Asia (EAS), & US-ASEAN

 

 For a historical list of statements and policies in 2017, click here.

Trade & Investment

 

For a historical list of statements and policies in 2017, click here.

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Methodology: Policy materials and quotations from Secretary of Defense James Mattis are limited to after January 12, 2017 when he underwent a confirmation hearing before the Senate. Should any quotations before the period be deemed relevant they will be indicated by an asterisk (*) after the date. In all cases, these additional quotations were made within the year prior to the start of the Trump Administration. Flag icons that indicate which countries members of the Trump administration have traveled to are provided by Freepik, accessed through www.flaticon.com.

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