“We are focused on modernizing our alliance with both the Republic of Korea and Japan, transforming these critical alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Mr. Mattis mentioned, utilizing South Korea’s formal identify.
He additionally mentioned the United States would proceed to assist Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as its territory, with navy and different help.
Aaron L. Friedberg, a professor of politics and worldwide affairs at Princeton University and a former deputy assistant for nationwide safety affairs, mentioned that Mr. Mattis’s speech was most likely meant to ease American allies’ considerations not nearly regional threats, however about President Trump’s oft-changing overseas coverage.
“They don’t know what’s coming next,” Mr. Friedberg mentioned. “There’s not much people even at Mattis’s levels can do about it.”
Mr. Mattis mentioned little about North Korea in his speech, which got here simply hours after Mr. Trump mentioned that the June 12 talks in Singapore with the North’s chief, Kim Jong-un, have been again on. He mentioned the American objective remained the “irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” In response to a query, he added that American troop ranges in South Korea wouldn’t be on the agenda for the summit talks.