Defense Secretary James Mattis met with his Southeast Asian counterpartsÂ at the former Clark Air Base in the Philippines to discuss security challenges and defense cooperation in the region, DoD News reported Monday.
Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said Mattis attended theÂ Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus where defense leaders talked about regional security; counterterrorism efforts; and the need to impose sanctions against North Korea in response to the country’s nuclear tests.
Mattis said the ASEAN nations want to increase theÂ scope and complexity of defense exercises and that the U.S. government works with regional partners to boostÂ maritime security capacity in Southeast Asia, according to White.
The defense secretary also participated in theÂ ninth Trilateral Defense Ministerial meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts to discussÂ security cooperation and condemnÂ North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities.
The three defense leaders agreed to bolsterÂ international cooperation on the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, including a resolution to impose sanctions against North Korea following itsÂ sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3.
The ministers voiced support for efforts toÂ expand information sharing on North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats as well as continue missile warning and anti-submarine warfare exercises.