The United States will continue raising its military presence in the Asia Pacific region and strengthening defense links with its steadfast allies Japan and South Korea and beyond, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Saturday.
"Our third effort at the US Department of Defense is to strengthen US military capabilities in the region," he said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. "Currently, 60 percent of all US Navy ships, 55 percent of Army Forces, about two-thirds of the Fleet Marine Forces are assigned to the US Pacific Command area of responsibility."
The defense chief said the Congress had brought forth an initiative to expand investment in the Department of Defense, "strengthening the rules-based order to better position us to support regional stability in a changing region."
The Defense Secretary also said that the United States will continue supporting the Philippines in their struggle against terrorism after an Islamist attack on the southern city of Marawi.
"We stand with the Philippines in the fight they are currently engaged in," Mattis said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. "We are helping to train, advise and assist the Philippine forces in their fight against violent extremist organizations in the south – and I think we all owe that support to the Philippine government. We also continue to support the modernization of the Philippine forces to address the country’s security challenges."