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Mattis: US stands with Asia-Pacific

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SINGAPORE: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday that the US remains committed to its Asia-Pacific allies, as he headed to the region's premier defence and security forum, which ends tomorrow.

Mr Mattis said that he would talk about the "international order" needed for a peaceful Asia - a reference to countering North Korea's nuclear and missile program - in a speech at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue here today.

"I will emphasise that the US stands with our Asia-Pacific allies and partners," Mr Mattis told reporters.

"The Department of Defence is focused on strengthening alliances, empowering countries to be able to sustain their own security and strengthening US military capabilities to deter war."

He is expected to meet with his counterparts from a number of countries, including South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Mr Mattis also said he will talk about the need to uphold international law, an apparent reference to China's activities on the disputed islets and reefs in the South China Sea. - REUTERS

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