Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Monday, November 19, 2018 01:40:36 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Mattis in Asia, fixing Trump-rattled relationships one by one

photo by AP photo

With US President Donald Trump disrupting one relationship after another, provoking rivals and unnerving friends, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is the one making sure they can still work on their traditional foundations

By AFP, Washington
01st-Jul-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spent four days in East Asia trying to keep on the rails key relationships-two friendly, one adversarial-that his boss President Donald Trump has thrown into confusion.
It's now a familiar role for the Pentagon chief, not just in Asia but across Europe and the Middle East. With Trump disrupting one relationship after another, provoking rivals and unnerving friends, Mattis is the one making sure they can still work on their traditional foundations.
This week, he had to tell the leaders of South Korea and Japan-close allies who have depended on the US security umbrella for decades-that Washington remains committed to protecting them. That was always understood before Trump suddenly canceled defense exercises with South Korea as an enticement to North Korea's Kim Jong Un to negotiate giving up his nuclear weapons.
And Mattis had to cut through the noise of Trump's trade war threat against China to deliver one of the toughest warnings in recent years, that the US has grown dangerously impatient with Beijing's military expansionism in the region.
The challenge was to get the Chinese to focus on his terse, carefully calibrated message and not conflate the US president's trade hoopla, so that they do not overreact.
"I'm here to keep our relationship on the right trajectory, keep it going in the right direction and to share ideas with your military leadership, as well as look at the way ahead," the Pentagon chief told Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mattis, a 67-year-old Marine veteran of multiple wars and conflicts, and a deep student of history, insists he is only advancing administration policy.
But under Trump, it is an uphill battle to prevent key relationships from souring.
Japan and South Korea alike have been deeply worried about the US security commitment after Trump's historic summit with Kim in Singapore on June 12. As they agreed to enter into denuclearization talks, Trump abruptly canceled a key US-South Korea exercise slated for later this year.
Despite their longstanding effect of keeping North Korea at bay, Trump called the war games "expensive" and "provocative."
How worried were the allies? In Seoul, Mattis had to declare bluntly that US troop levels in South Korea, the central pillar of the US defense commitment, would not change, and reiterate that the US commitment was "ironclad."
In Tokyo, he pledged a continuing strong, "collaborative" defense stance with regional allies, and that Japan will remain a "cornerstone" of regional stability. His predecessors never had to travel to the region to make that so clear. ·And yet, with US negotiations with Pyongyang hyper-secret, allies still aren't sure. "They are increasingly concerned and worried about the reliability of our reassurances," said James Schoff, a former senior Pentagon East Asia specialist now in the Carnegie Asia Program.
In meetings Friday with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan's foreign and defense ministers, Mattis was repeatedly reminded that if the US negotiates only to eliminate North Korea's nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles which can strike the United States, Japan will still feel deeply vulnerable.
Tokyo pressed the US defense chief to ensure that North Korea's other weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons, and its short- and medium-range ballistic missiles that can deliver them to South Korea and Japan, are also included.
Mattis could not make that promise, saying the talks are in the hands of "the diplomats."
But he said the two sides discussed the possibility of deepening their military relationship, and told Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera "to remember you have a friend in the Pentagon."
In China, Mattis sought to warn that Beijing weaponizing small islands in the South China Sea and its stepped-up pressure against Taiwan, the longtime US security ally that China views as a renegade province, were close to going too far.
It was possibly one of the most serious and delicate messages Mattis had to deliver yet in the 17 months of the Trump administration.
But it came as Trump appeared on the verge of launching an all-out commercial war against Beijing, creating the possibility that China would conflate the two and overreact.
It was a tense balancing act, and though US officials said their Chinese opposites were positively engaged in the discussions, in a statement Xi toughly rebuffed the criticisms on the South China Sea and Taiwan, saying China would not give up "one inch" of its territory.
But the reception Mattis had in Beijing, meeting not only Xi but the country's top military leaders, showed they were ready to pay attention.
Still, the question leaders in East Asia and elsewhere have is, as trustworthy as Mattis is, does Trump pay him any heed?
"There are some things the Asian leaders can't control. Mattis clearly realizes there are some elements that he may not be able to control," said Schoff.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

City »

Bangladesh Army Chief Aziz Ahmed inspcting parade on occasion of endorsing regimental colour to Adhoc 11 Bangladesh Infantry Regiment (Machanised ) at CMP Center and School Parade Ground in Savar Cantonment yesterday.


Cricket »

BCB President Nazmul Hassan assumes rotating ACC Presidency


President of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Nazmul Hassan Papon MP assumed the post of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President for a two- year term at its Annual General Meeting held in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Saturday.Nazmul Hassan Papon is the 3rd ACC President from Bangladesh following in the ...

Cricket »

England win second Test against Sri Lanka to seal series


AFP, Kandy :Jack Leach's first five-wicket haul clinched an overwhelming win for England in the second Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday that sealed the series with a match to go.England needed just 30 minutes on the fifth day to take the final three wickets with Leach fittingly getting last ...

Editorial »

US-China trade war : An opportunity for BD to expand businesses and attract FDI


THE ongoing trade war between the US and China has created a better opportunity for Bangladesh, especially for garment sectors. The exporters have been receiving a greater number of work orders from both China and the US. The current trade war has opened an opportune moment for us (Bangladesh) as ...

International »

Sri Lankan President seeks talks to end power struggle


AFP, Colombo :Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday called crucial talks with political leaders in a bid to end a power struggle with the prime minister he sacked last month.The Indian Ocean nation has been paralysed since October 26 when Sirisena deposed Ranil Wickremesinghe as premier and replaced him ...

International »

No ‘final conclusion’ on Khashoggi killing, say US


AFP, Washington  :The US government has not reached a final conclusion over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the State Department said Saturday following reports that the CIA had held the Saudi Crown Prince responsible."Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate," State Department spokeswoman ...

Entertainment »

What Kriti Sanon is learning for her next movie?


Actress Kriti Sanon who has her hands filled currently with multiple projects has started taking Marathi lessons for her upcoming next. The actress who is currently shooting for Housefull 4 has already begun prep for her next, Panipat. As Kriti will be seen essaying the role of a Maratha queen ...

Entertainment »

IFFI to pay tributes to Sridevi, Shashi Kapoor and others


Actor Sridevi, who died unexpectedly earlier this year, will be posthumously honoured at the 49th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Sridevi, who had an illustrious career spanning over four decades, died at the age of 55 due to accidental drowning in Dubai earlier this year. The actor ...

Campus Life »

DIU Chairman gets honorary doctorate


Campus Report :In recognition of his vision to digital transformation of society, skill management to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship in every youth, and social contribution to destitute children through Daffodil Institute of Social Sciences (DISS) in association with Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, India, the management of ...

Business & Economy »

Mohammad Nawaz, Director of South Bangla Agriculture & Commerce (SBAC) Bank Ltd, inaugurating its 66th branch at Abdullahpur in South Keranigonj of Dhaka on Sunday. Md. Golam Faruque, Managing Director of the bank presided over the ceremony. DMD Tariqul Islam Chowdhury, Company Secretary Md. Mokaddes Ali and Branch Manager Salil Kumar Dutta were present.


Football »

Neymar penalty punishes Uruguay in feisty friendly


Neymar kept his cool to score the controversial penalty that fired Brazil to a 1-0 win over Uruguay in a full-blooded friendly on Friday.Brazil captain Neymar was subjected to some ferocious fouls from Uruguay as the clash between the South American rivals boiled over at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.But the Paris ...

Cricket »

Shakib returns as BCB announces squad for 1st Test against WI


The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Saturday announced the squad for the first Test of two-match series against the West Indies (WI) with ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan returned to the squad.Another big-name inclusion in the squad is Soumya Sarkar, whose last Test appearance came on the tour of South ...

Editorial »

Pro-people police is the demand of time


THE Police Investigation Bureau (PIB) has unveiled the mystery behind a spine-chilling crime where a middle-aged woman passenger was killed inside a running bus at Ashulia in the outskirts of Dhaka city. It took hardly seven days for them to crack the case. Police have already arrested the murderers along ...

International »

US opposes UN resolution condemning Israel's occupation of Golan Heights


AFP, United Nations :For the first time, the United States voted Friday against an annual UN resolution condemning Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights, dropping its practice of abstaining in the vote.The non-binding resolution was adopted in a General Assembly committee by a vote of 151 to 2, with the ...

Entertainment »

Aupee Karim returning to big screen


Entertainment Desk :Actress Aupee Karim is returning to the big screen after 15 years , with a film titled "Debris of Desire."Aupee made her debut in cinema with Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's 'Bachelor,' for which the actor won the Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Actress in 2004. The film is ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news