CLARK, Pampanga: United States Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the Philippine military gave a very strong message to terrorists by winning over the ISIS-inspired Maute group in Marawi City.
“It was a very tough fight, ” Mattis said as he spoke with reporters on his way to Manila. “One of the first things I’m going to do when I get there is commend the Philippine military for liberating Marawi from the terrorists.”
Mattis will attend the 11th Association of southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers’ Meeting and will going to meet his counterparts from Japan, Malaysia, India, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
“It will be an opportunity to recognize Asean now for 50 years of promoting peace and stability in the region. They have done a very good job of it,” he said. “The US remains unambiguously committed to supporting Asean.”
The defense ministers who will attend the said event are expected to discuss the Korea Peninsula crisis brought by the loud threat of North Korea. On this note, South Korea, Japan and the US will hold a trilateral meeting aside from the big ASEAN gathering that will happen.