Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper speaks online with the Institute for Strategic Studies about the vision for security in the Indo-Pacifc region, July 21, 2020.
I only need an introduction, but certainly deserves one, given his academic business and government experience and accomplishments. Marcus Per graduated from the U. S military Academy here and an M A from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A PhD from George Washington University, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and retired from the U. S Army in 2000 and seven. He worked as an adviser to send a Chuck Hagel, a person I knew very well because it was with Senator Chuck Hagel that I first designed the idea of an Asia security summit in 2000 and one and proposed to him that the United States take a leading role in it. And that project ultimately became what is now known as the Shangrila dialogue. Marquez Per worked at the Heritage Foundation. He was the vice president of the Raytheon Corporation, secretary of the Army, and in July last year became secretary off defense. Now, normally, the United States secretary of Defense makes a major annual statement at the double double s Cingular dialogue. Unfortunately, the double I double s in consultation with our host country. Singapore decided that we could not convene the Cingular dialogue this year owing to the global pandemic. And we are working hard already towards the 2021 foolish inform on the 2021 Shangla dialogue. Now this presentation technically isn’t part of the Shangri La dialogue process which is a face to face activity of defense diplomacy. But we are extremely grateful that in these circumstances, the secretary asked us for this virtual platform to lay out this summer the United States vision for the Indo Pacific region. We have over 500 people in this audience from North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and from all parts of the Asia Pacific. The secretary will speak for some 20 minutes and then we will take questions in groups of three or four. Questions can only be asked by raising the blue hand function in zoom, I will identify you and ask you to be concise. I would remind you that the remarks of the secretary the questions on the answers will be on the record and we look forward to a very stimulating 56 minutes. Mr. Secretary, the floor is yours. Well, thank you, Jon, and thank you for that kind introduction. It’s Ah, it’s great to be here with you today. Good morning from the Pentagon again, I want to thank Dr Chipman and the International Institute for Strategic Studies for the opportunity to gather virtually and discuss how the department events is advancing security and prosperity in the Indo Pacific, particularly in light of the Corona virus pandemic. Now, as an Indo Pacific nation, the United States commitment to a free and open region is rooted deep in the values, history and economic ties we share with our allies and our partners and has only grown deeper in the face of efforts to undermine it. Especially recently. In fact, this July marks one year since my confirmation hearing where I pledged that my top party as secretary would be implementing the National Repent Strategy in an era of great power competition and focusing the department on our priority theater, the Indo Pacific. I’m proud to report that we made great progress in this regard, including the steps we’ve taken to deliver on the three pillars of our Indo Pacific strategy preparedness, strengthening partnerships and promoting a more networked region. First, in the category of preparedness were the vesting from legacy systems and focus. Focusing our modernizing our force and strengthening deterrence has demonstrated by our largest research and development budget in the department’s history. We’re not only prioritising the development and deployment of game changing technologies such as hypersonic weapons, five G and artificial intelligence, but we’re also investing in platforms critical to the Indo Pacific and transforming the way we fight for the United States. Navy were working to design a future pleat, that is, that is more survivable, adaptable, sustainable and larger than we have seen in years. Likewise, the Marine Corps is focused on becoming leaner, faster, more lethal and precise and more geographically distributed in the Pacific. Meanwhile, the Army is prioritizing long range precision weapons to stay ahead of our competitors, growing anti access area denial capabilities with greater speed at greater ranges and the Air Force could things. It’s focused on enhanced stealth capabilities and the advancement of joint all the main command control, a vital initiative that will link any sensor to any shooter in the battlefield in real time to ensure these assets, systems and capabilities are integrated throughout. Our armed forces were developing a new joint warfighting concept and ultimately, doctrine for the 21st century and implementing novel concepts to become more nimble, less predictable and able to rapidly ship the combat operations if needed. For instance, we stepped up bomber task Force missions to deliver a quick reaction, persistent long term bomber presence in the Indo Pacific and around the globe. These deployments provides strategic predictability to our allies while remaining operationally unpredictable toe our adversaries. Together, these efforts will prepare our military for future high intensity conflicts against near pier rivals that we hope we never need to fight but must be prepared to defeat. Second, under the rubric of strengthening partnerships, we continue to bolster our growing network of Indo Pacific allies and partners, a strategic advantage our competitors cannot match. Last fall, we renewed a key agreement with Singapore, extending US Ford presence and cooperation in the region for another 15 years with Indonesia, we continue to partner together on maritime security and provide them with top of the line military platforms and with the Philippines were working closely on a range of issues from counterterrorism, the maritime security. Additionally, we’re supporting Thailand’s military modernisation by co procuring striker armored vehicles and also partnering with Malaysia and Brunei to increase their maritime domain awareness. And earlier this year we conducted the second ever US carrier visit the Vietnam in over four decades. While we develop the strategic relationships with emerging regional partners, we continue to build on longstanding commitments in the region. This includes working alongside South Korea to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and an enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula. It also improves parting with Japan in the space cyber missile defense and advanced technologies domains as well as our co development of defense capabilities, intelligence cooperation and close policy alignment with Australia. Moreover, we continue to advance our strong partnership with New Zealand and remain committed to a democratic Taiwan. Further, we continue to cultivate robust relationships with team or less in Mongolia, this well specific island countries, including Papa, New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga. This summer I enjoyed speaking with nearly a dozen of my counterparts from across the region and look forward to maintaining close contact until we can meet again in person. In fact, just yesterday I spoke with ministers of defence from New Zealand and Korea. Lastly, I want to highlight are increased defense cooperation with India, one of the all important defense relationships of a 21st century. We conducted our 1st 1st ever joint military exercise last November, and as we speak today, the USS Nimitz is conducting combined exercises with the Indian navy in the Indian Ocean, demonstrating our shared commitment to stronger naval cooperation and support of a free and open Indo Pacific. We also continue to grow our defense cells and look forward to a robust two plus two ministerial dialogue later this year to build on this progress third and final. Under promoting a more network region, we are encouraging Indo Pacific nations to expand their own intra regional security relationships and networks of like minded partners. For example, over the past several years, Japan has provided maritime vessels to the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bangladesh, bolstering their maritime security. In June, Australia and India finalized an important logistical support agreement and last year South Korea pledged to more than double its development assistance to Association of Southeast Asian Nations by 2022 to support all three pillars of our Indo Pacific strategy, the administration export to working with United States Congress to establish a perfect Pacific, the deterrence initiative that will prioritize our investments, maintain a credible deterrent and demonstrate an enduring a whole of government commitment to the region, our efforts across the Indo Pacific and prepared us well to respond to the prevailing crisis. The Cove in 19 Pandemic The US government has committed more than $325 million in Corona virus release support for Indo Pacific partners, including more than 80 million for ASEAN countries. In addition, the department defense has provided much needed medical training supplies, including test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment. For example, we delivered over 1000 costs to the Philippines to increase its hospital bed capacity, and our Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Services is providing technical assistance to several Indo Pacific countries. Our partners are responding in kind. South Korea supplied the United States with 2.5 million masks. Malaysia help send US over one million gloves and factories in Vietnam supplied us with nearly five million items PP. Demonstrating the reciprocal nature of our defense relationships, the devastating worldwide impact of the crown of operate Corona virus outbreak reinforces the necessity of a rules based international order rooted in transparency, openness, honesty and other shared values. In this era of globalization, the antidote to a viral contagion is communication and collaboration, not disinformation and deception. For this reason, I’m concerned that while the United States and our partners focus on supporting one another in these challenging times, the Chinese Communist Party continues to engage in systematic rule breaking coercion and other malign activities. The most concerning. To me, the People’s Liberation Army continues its aggressive behavior in the East and South China seas, including seeking a Vietnamese fishing boat, harassing Malaysian oil and gas development, escorting Chinese fishing pleats into Indonesia’s claimed exclusive economic zone. And militarising occupied features in direct contravention of China’s commitments under international law. In doing so, the CCP has bullied Ozzie on nations out of an estimated $2.6 trillion and potential offshore oil and gas revenue, not to mention access the fishing grounds that millions of people depend on for their livelihoods. The P L A has also increased the number and duration of its incursions into the waters surrounding the Japanese administered Senkaku Islands, and the PRC continues to look the other way as North Korea violates U. N Security Council resolutions there by sharing Pyongyang from the international consequences of its pursuit of dangerous and illegal nuclear and missile programs. Most recently, Beijing advanced national security legislation that violates its commitment to the Hong Kong people to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, calling the 1984 Sino British Joint Declaration a statement of policies rather than the treaty that it is. In addition, the PL, a large scale exercise to simulate the seizure of the Taiwan Control Produce island is a destabilizing activity that significantly increases the risk of miscalculation. This catalogue of bad behavior accompanies a pattern of the CCPS brazen disregard for international commitments from its failure to uphold its obligations on the World Trade Organization to regularly disrespecting the rights of other nations under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. Further, China’s unlawful land reclamation and military exercises on and around disputed features in the South China Sea are patently inconsistent with its commitments set out in the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Make no mistake, the CCP has been engaged in this sort of behavior for many years, but today it’s true. Intentions are on full display for all to see. We call on China’s leaders to abide by the international laws and norms that China and the Chinese people have benefited greatly from over the years. And while we hope the CCP will change its ways, we must be prepared for the alternative. Together, we must uphold the free and open system that is secured peace and prosperity for millions and defend the principles that undergirded, namely respect for sovereignty and independence for all nations, regardless of their size, peaceful resolution of disputes, mutual adherence to international laws and norms, and the promotion of free, fair and reciprocal trade. These are not American values, these are universal and we must be united in their defense. To this end, the United States made an important announcement last week to clarify our policy on the South China Sea. It plainly states that are recognition of maritime claims, is consistent with international law, favours the sovereign rights of South East Asian partners and rejects the PRC’s excessive and unlawful maritime claims have been used to bully smaller countries from accessing offshore resource is in their own exclusive economic zones. This policy champions, a free and open Indo Pacific in which all the regions diverse nations can live and prosper in peace and makes clear that the PRC has no right to turn international waters into a zone of exclusion or its own maritime empire. Our actions back up our policies. In 2019 we conducted the greatest number of freedom of navigation operations on ops in the South China Sea. In the 40 year history of the Fun Office program, we will keep up the pace this year. Additionally, on two occasions earlier this month, two carrier strike groups conducted exercises together in the South China Sea for the first time since 2012 a clear and powerful signal that we will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows. Let me be clear. China is a country with a storied history, a rich culture and a wonderful people. We’re not in search of conflict. We’re committed to a constructive and results oriented relationship with China and within our defense relationship, open lines of communication and risk reduction. I’ve personally spoken to my PRC counterpart on multiple occasions, and before the year’s out, I hope to visit the PRC for the first time the secretary, in order to enhance cooperation on areas of common interest, established the systems necessary for crisis communications and reinforce our intentions to openly compete in the international system in which we all belong in closing. We firmly believe no single nation can or should dominate the Public Commons, and we will continue to work alongside our allies and partners to support a prosperous and secure Indo Pacific for all. We will demonstrate the Roaches and resilience of a global system, go upon transparency, openness and other shared values. We will enhance our readiness and ask our partners to do the same. We will strengthen and expand our unmatched alliance network. And together we will ensure peace, prosperity and security for generations to come. Thank you. And I look forward to our discussion. Mr Secretary, thank you very much indeed. A number of blue hands of being raised and I would ask anyone who seeks the floor to grab my attention. Now I see seven or eight already and not to worry. I’ll try to involve as many as possible. What I’d like to do, Mr Secretary, is to take three questions out. First on I will tell the three people who they are and then allow them to talk in that sequence. I would ask them each to keep their question to under a minute. It possible the 1st 3 people I will ask will be in drawn Apache from the Times of India than Shuman Lee from Korea and then Ni Anima bosu from print line media also in India. So in green Apache, you have the floor. Uh, thank you, John. Uh, Secretary, thank you for your comments. I wanted to ask you since you spoke about India, I wanted to ask you what your views are of the current standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Leda on Duh. What kind of cooperation do you end message with India in view off the crisis that eyes currently unfolding. Thank you very much. Thank you. And run on now to, uh, come mainly from Korea. Two men. You have to amuse yourself. Thank you. Uh, thank you, Mr. Secretary, My question to you is is over. A flurry of media reports recently on the possible withdrawal of US forces from Korea unless South Korean pays much more for host nation support. Is there any truth to these beady reports is the Pentagon of the president orders considering any reduction or withdrawal of US forces. Because such a move, in my view, will be very detrimental to our alliance to co defense and deterrence and only help our adversaries. Thank you very much on finding in this round. Ny anima Basu. Go ahead and I Ameena go ahead and I am mean up. Um, I’ll move on then to one more. For the moment, if I could to Rory Metcalf from Australia. Hello, It’s Ah, Rory Medcalf from the National Security College at the Australian National University Secretary. Your your your speech. Uh, August is inspiring at one level, but the big question remains. How well resource do you think the United States is, particularly in the Indian Ocean? The Indo part of the Indo Pacific, to play to its strengths to the Turner and my pain. Stability. Thank you very much, Mr Sexually over back to you. Thank you, John. And thanks everybody for those questions, I’ll address them anywhere that they were asked the first with regard to this situation between India and China were obviously monitor monitoring it very closely on of what’s happening along the line of actual control, and we’re very pleased to see that both sides are trying to de escalate the situation and we continue to. I think we’ve, uh, lost the secretary’s voice for the last 30 seconds or so. I’m sorry, you Yes, I’ll go back to Saga back where I was just to say Look, we’re way have I’ve issued no orders to withdraw forces from the Korean Peninsula. I will say, though, when I took office, I was clear that I was going to implement the national defense strategy part and parcel. That means looking at every geographic combatant command and making sure that we’re optimized in positions position as well as possible to accomplish not just fulfilling the nds, but also making sure the regional missions we’ve tasked or there. So we will continue to look at the adjustments at every command we have in every theater to make sure we are optimizing our forces. We’re moving toward additional concepts. New concepts such as a dynamic force, employment and I continue to want to pursue more rotational forces, force deployments into theaters because it gives us United States greater strategic flexibility in terms of responding to challenges around the globe and then on the last issue with regard to resource is in the Indian Ocean again. Parties, geographic combat command reviews I’m looking at are our means to do a few things, not just optimized our forces in a particular theater, but look to freeing up forces to either reposition back to the United States to conduct these dynamic force employments or prepare for. I think we’ve lost the secretary’s voice again. I think we I think we lost you. Then again for a second, I was just saying, I think the recent exercise ongoing between the Indian Navy and the USS Nimitz just shows the growing cooperation between our countries and our ability, that state’s ability to project power into the region and and to sustain it, by the way, with with with our allies and partners marvels, Thank you very much. So I think I’ll take three or four Now. The next one will be Bethany Alan Abraham, who I think it started. Actually, that’s a good news that her own China. You’ve got the floor. Bethany. Great. Thank you so much. Um, secretary, I would like to ask about the South China Sea. You mentioned that the U. S. Has now been doing more foreign ops. And in the past, um, what else can the U S do to try to perhaps even walk back some of the territory that the China has claimed they now have significant deterrent capabilities in the South, China’s to you should or a regional. Should there be an outbreak of regional conflict, it could make it more difficult for the US to engage. Are there discussions about consequences placed on China for those activities? Something Mawr thing just fun off on. One of the interesting things about contemporary international politics is that they’re growing links between the Middle East and East Asia, whose security, economic and political connections are important. So the next personnel asked to speak is steak Mubarak Al Sabah from Q eight. Yes, my question is, do we think that we’re going to see a new maritime security construct in the India Indo Pacific as it is in the Arabian Gulf? Thank you very much, Mubarak. I’ll take two more. And from Japan Tackett Sue Go Sato, Severson, Go ahead, Stature. You’re You should be able to amuse yourself if not. I’ll go to athlete Townsend. Thanks. Dr Chipman Secretary. Thanks very much for your remarks. Two of the three pillars of your in the Pacific strategy concerned partnerships and alliances through the focus on networking. I’m interested in your take not on the short term objectives of these pillars, but on the longer time objectives. We down here in Sydney at the U. S. Studies centre have been working on American strategic capacity in the in the Indo Pacific and arguing in favor of a Pacific deterrence initiative, in part because it will be required to multilateral eyes, deterrence and multilateral eyes the maintenance of the balance of power in the region. Do you also for see that is the end goal of the US is increasing focus on alliances and partnerships. Thank you very much. And now Oscar, one more from Catherine Hill, please. Uh, who is from the Financial Times? Katherine. Thank you, John. Secretary, Another question about the South China Sea When recently we saw the dual carry operations earlier this month, the first time in south trying to see some Chinese state media were, um, remarkable, stressing that any US carrier moving around there was there at the pleasure of the P l. A are making reference to China’s A to A D capabilities. Could you explain that? What the, uh, us considerations are with regard to China’s increasing threat to a surface us surface competence? Thank you. Maybe I’ll take one more just to get a bit more geographical diversity in koa fam, please. Koa fam. Now you get Yes, I want to ask about the, you know, the military militarization of the South Tennessee. What were the US specifically do to stop the fortification off the islands that China has undertaken? Thank you, Mr Secretary. Over the you, Miss Secretary. Well, thank you for those questions. Way have five of them. I’ve written down. Some of them are the same cell trying capture as many as I can here. You know, first of all, what we I think the question is, what are we doing in the South China Sea? What does it mean for the long term long term goal with much of what I set up front is our long term vision. We want to deter against coercive behaviour by the Chinese in the South China Sea. Now we know it’s been going on for years. China’s bulling, other coercion or compel its of others, particularly smaller countries. It seems that your arm gets trist twisted harder the small of the country you are, so we want to continue to deter against coercive behaviour. Second, we want to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight. You know 80% of world straight flows through ah, the Indo Pacific and particularly the South China Sea. So we want to make sure that we maintain a free and open Pacific because otherwise, if that trade commerce gets cut off or gets impacted as and it has a dramatic impact on people’s prosperity, uh, their livelihoods and our ability for our economies to function. So it’s very important. We maintain freedom of navigation. And then third, we want to strengthen our partnerships in the South in the region so that Southeast Asia countries can maintain and defend their own waters. That’s what we want to do is make sure that China respects the sovereignty of others and follows the rule of law and international norms. Now we’re going to continue to do that through exercises. We’re going to continue to Teoh to speak about the importance of international laws we did recently with by redefining our views with regard to maritime disputes. Now you know, I last drive tended at the Asian Aussie on defence ministers meeting where we had good discussions, both formally in the meeting and on the sidelines. It’s clear from all the Aussie on countries that they’re very concerned about China’s bad behavior, and we’ve seen it pick up in the last six months since the Cove in 19 hit and and China’s behavior in the context, DeKoven 19 is a whole other discussion about China’s bad behavior, if you will, um, other things we’re doing is adapting our policies. We will continue to exercise like rimpac and things like that, you know, relate that. Somebody spoke about, you know, carrier operations. I don’t know what the Chinese meant by that hollow statement about American carriers being there, but by the pleasure of the p l. A or something. Look, American aircraft carriers have been in the in the South China Sea in the Indo Pacific since World War two, and we will continue to be there, and we’re not gonna be stopped by anybody. We’re gonna sell, fly and operate anywhere international law allows. And we do that again to assert international on rights, to back up the sovereignty of our friends and partners and to reassure them that we will be there to defend those things. Um, with regard. Teoh. Somebody asked about a new maritime security construct in the Indo Pacific. It’s not something we’ve talked about again. We have. Ah, What we do see is a pick up, though in terms of freedom. Never gave navigation operations being conducted bilaterally between us and other countries or multilateral foreign office. We see happening. I mentioned RIMPAC. We see more countries joining RIMPAC. We talk about bilateral exercises happening and I just generally see ah much, much greater cooperation between countries, if you will. And this gets into, I think the final question about multilateral ization. You know, my experience has been now working on ah, the Indo Pacific since the nineties, if you will, that so much of it, unlike Europe, is very bilateral instead of multilateral. But I will tell you, the last few months I’ve seen a greater push toward multilateral ization. We held, for example, in the past couple months, say, ah, virtual five eyes defense ministerial meeting between us, you know, the United States and four other countries. That was very successful. And I think we all agreed the partners, the allies to continue those on a more routine basis. We had several other multi lower discussions with with, for example, of the United States, Japan and Australia s. So we see Corona virus actually pushing us to multilateral eyes. And I think that’s a good thing that we all agree should continue. And I will tell you again I’ve had multiple conversations with my counterparts over the last few months. A zai mentioned earlier. Just last last night, I spoke to defense Minister of Korea, Defense Minister of New Zealand yesterday and I’ve spoken many, many of my counterparts the Indians, the Japanese, Brunei, others. And so I actually see the Indo Pacific coming together and I think they’ll be greater multilateral ization. That would be my vision is to bring us together more in terms of a network to, ah, to operate more closely together, to consult diplomatically and to pursue things in that manner to defend again the international rules based order to defend the sovereignty of countries in the region Pacific Island countries, Oz, young countries in the in the in Southeast Asia and all those different things we’ve been talking about for some time now. Excellent. Thank you very much. I’ll take another group before I warn them in advance so they can prepare to Owen mute themselves as I allow them to talk eso It’ll be in the pulling order. Lindsey Hilsum first, then Eric Lee, then Sophia McBride, then mayor know ins. But Lindsey Hilsum first have Lindsey Hilsum here from Channel Four News a secretary following on from the questions you think house there is a really fear, I think in Taiwan now off, you know, the ultimate a Chinese invasion. We understand everything that you’re talking about in terms of deterrence. But, you know, if you know that is being thought about, is the possibility in the next in the next two years What would America do under those circumstances? What de escalation mechanisms are there on the what about the treaty that that binds you? Thank you very much. Next, Eric Lee. Thank you, Mrs Secretary. My question follows the previous quite nicely my questions about Taiwan. The Indo Pacific strategy states that the U. S. Is pursuing a strong relationship with Taiwan and to faithfully implement the tiara. We’ve seen that of second part with whole upholding the commitment to the T r A with record numbers of arms sales and fun offs. But my question is more about the Indo Pacific strategy in specific, like, how will the department incorporate? I went into this strategy and where the next steps to advancing the US town security relationship and on the final end is, um, second, Mr Secretary, what is your position on Thailand’s overall defense concept? Thank you. Thanks very much. And next, Sophie McBride by There’s Hugh Borland speaking in places. A few McBride three U K’s Russia report has been released. It found the UK doesn’t know if Russia attempted to interfere in the Brexit referendum or other elections because spy agencies were never asked to investigate. The UK has been accused of taking its eye off the ball. Given the report’s findings, what is your advice to the UK about, firstly, how seriously to take the threat of Russian interference and secondly, how to tackle it? Should they beam or U K. U s Corporation to counter it on What is the UK risking by having a blind spot to this threat? Thanks very much. Well, Mayor New ins. Next on on shorts. Me and no instance he’s not operating under anyone’s else’s nameplate. May I? Go ahead. Thank you, John. And thank you, Mr Secretary. Mr. Secretary, you mentioned that five G is a game changing technology and you’ve also spoken extensively on the importance that the U. S places on its partnerships in Indo Pacific and the interoperability between the US and partner and allied militaries. How will the integration of hallway and other broader Chinese digital technologies in Indo Pacific countries change or affect the USS partnerships and interrupt ability with these countries? Thank you. That’s a really important question. I should put in a what In the UK, it’s called a party political broadcast, which is the double I double s is doing a great deal of work on the so called digital Silk Road and manner ones who works with us has assembled with our team over 900 unique data points. And we would hope that too, be publicly available shortly to ensure there’s an evidence based analysis up the extent of the vigil Silk Road of activity. But I lost one more person before the sex. We answered what will not be five questions that one of our young leaders Blake. Hats. Finger, please. Blaker ahead. Thank you, John. And thank you, Mr Secretary. Um, so there’s been some public discussion in past few years of a privately communicated red line. One of the things that stopped Chinese reclamation it Scarborough Shoal back around 2016. Um, but I was wondering if you’d be willing to discuss Where are red lines are today in 2020. Over to you, Mr Secretary. Well, thank you very much. Uh, kind of no particular order, but I’ll just take the last one first. It’s not good practices. Discuss red lines. One of those case, maybe I will just tell you up front is we feel very strongly about the things I mentioned before about the our shared values, about defending the international rules and norms about living up to our commitments in the Indo Pacific, whether they are treaty bound commitments or whether they are political, commits commitments that we made to others. So that’s what’s the important thing and will continue to push. I guess that lends nicely to discussing Taiwan, which was one the first questions. Look, the pl a activities in the region are destabilizing and they significantly increase the risk of miscalculation. It goes without saying, too. I don’t think anybody can be assured, particularly Taiwan, about Chinese commitments because we seen them violate them over and over and over again. I was in Hong Kong for the hand over 97. I remember very clearly China was gonna commit to sustaining the Basic Law and they promised one country, two systems. I don’t think anybody in Taiwan believes that at this point, that China has any intention whatsoever of living up to its one country, two systems. So that’s a problem. Look our problem with our Taiwan policies, but consistent since 1979 of the Taiwan Relations Act about what we would do. And then in 1982 President Reagan established the policy of conditioning arms agreements on arms sales to Taiwan based entirely on the threat posed by the PRC. So we’ve seen the PRC become more aggressive. We’ve seen him build up there military. We seem to be more assertive. They got hundreds, if not over, 1000 missiles aimed at Taiwan and, um and we’ve seen President Xi and his party really take this to ah to a new level. So we were may committed to regional peace and security. We will live up to our commitments to Taiwan, which is all in the interest of a secure and stable region, if you will, you know, with regard to Taiwan, we talked about arms cells. We will continue to conduct arm sells. We will continue conduct freedom of navigation operations, and that includes in the Taiwan Strait. And I think we did our most recent one in the past week or so. But again, I think it’s China is really the ones aggravating the Situation V’s of East Taiwan and then more broadly, in the region. As we discussed a few times the question about Russia and UK. I actually didn’t hear all of it. I think it may have been about election security. I would just say Look, it’s it’s very clear that Russia and other countries, we believe want to influence American elections if not interfere, and we work very hard in doing that. The United States Department defenses, in support of an interagency effort led by the Department of Homeland Security. And we’re fully confident we can preserve the integrity of our elections because that is the most important thing. Toe to a democracy is to ensure the integrity of your elections. We had a very good 2018 election and I’m confident that we’re doing everything we can to ensure the same for the upcoming presidential, congressional and Senate elections. So with regard to our you know, UK friends very, very capable country were always obviously always ready to provide assistance. But I wouldn’t put past Russia to try and influence any election out there. We’ve seen it, seen them try, do it in other parts of the world and then, lastly, with regard to five g look, five g is a game changer not just for security relationships, but also for the prosperity and for tech dominance, if you will. That’s that is why we believe hawala is is supported, influenced, resourced by the government in China and why we have great concerns about far away. I’ve spoken about this numerous times in NATO Defence Ministerial are concerned about the Chinese influence in the alliance and about wall ways, influence in particular with regard or systems. It’s clear to us we’ve been very, very clear eyed about it, that if Wall Way or other Chinese companies were to get into our networks that we would, we would doubt the security of those networks. And that would severely impact our ability to share intelligence with our allies and our ability to conduct operational planning and do all those things. So so allowing while way in would be an impediment that applies to NATO as well as our other treaty partners around the world, particularly our partners and allies in the Indo Pacific. And so we’ve been encouraging for some time now countries to forgo far away. And I’m pleased to see the tie turning on that we’ve seen the U. K walk away in the past few weeks from while way we see other countries in Europe doing the same. And we see countries in the Indo Pacific have already made that decision, so we will continue to move forward here in the United States. But I’m pleased with regard where the trend is heading right now, Mr Secretary, thank you very much. We’ll take another group of four, possibly five I’ll give warning to the 1st 4 so they could be ready to a mute themselves. When I call them Dion subsidiary. Aren conley yourself from a motor and Robert Ward. But Dion, secretary first, Who’s from the Jakarta Post in Indonesia? Uh, evening is there. I want him as a question about in a major operation in Asia because earlier this month difference Go tell professionally, is it announced the possibility off sale eight great aircraft. But, you know, we don’t have been just friends from the steel. Ah, we also noted that music was traveled to Russia, Russian and Chinese counterparts. But could you give us, like, this trap Egypt’s independence off this process for in Asia and the US Thank you. Thank you, Deanna. And I’ll move on. Teoh Aaron Connolly, please. From the double Idol s office in Asia who also follows Indonesia closely, Erin. Thank you, Dr Shipman. Mr. Secretary, you spoke four times about shared values was wonder if I could press you a little bit to go into a little bit of detail about what those values are, because when you look at the United States treaty allies in the Indo Pacific and in particular in Southeast Asia. Prime minister. Private channel child in Thailand to power in a military coup in 2014. President. Do Turkey A stands accused of limiting the space for debate in the Philippines and some of the United States. Democratic allies in recent years have raised questions about United stick values under the Trump administration. Was wondering how you would address those questions and also that a little bit more detail on values that you believe are shared with the Indo Pacific. Thanks very much on Robert Ward. Who’s the Japan chair at the double double s Robert. Thank Thank you, John. Thank you, Mr Secretary, For your broad ranging comments on the region, Japan’s defence policy debate has evolved very rapidly in recent years. How do you see Japan’s security role developing you in the Indo Pacific? Thank you. And also from Japan, the money to correspond in D. C. You’re so full Moto, You’re so yes, thank you very much. I want to ask about the possible deployment off Intermediate, Arrange me cells through Asia. Our Mr Secretary, we have a timetable over the deployment of these missiles. If not, could you give us some idea. Where are their candidates? Sites. Thank you. And since you’ve all been so crisp, I think I’ll squeeze in two more. Lin Quach, please. Thank you very much, Jon. And thank you. Mr Secretary was the secretary. I’d like to ask you a question specifically on Mr If reef in the South China Sea now in Secretary Pompeii. Oh’s recent statement, he said that the United States shares the tribunal’s ruling that are finding that the PRC has no lawful territorial or maritime claim to Mr If reef, which falls into the Philippines, sovereign rights and jurisdiction. Now, of course, Mischief Reef is a no tight elevation that the Chinese have transformed into an artificial island on have militarized. What does, um, Secretary Pompeii’s recent statement mean for duty in terms of operations in or around Mr Freed? Because, of course, fun offs do not have the fun arts nor military exercises in the South China Sea helped to reverse or stop the increase off a fortification of Mr of Grief. Thanks very much. And finally in this round, Antwone Levick. Thank you, John. Thank you, Mr Secretary. How much do you worry about nuclear and crisis stability? between India and Pakistan, be it in the subcontinent or growingly in the Indian Ocean. There are ample tensions and rhetoric, as well as a general lack of official dialogue between the two countries. So what does the United States believe is? It’s continuing role in that regard over to you, Mr Secretary. So many questions, so little time. Okay, so I’ll try and capture the mall is best I can. The first question on cooperation of India. I’m sorry with Indonesia. You know, we have a very good relationship with Indonesia. I’ve spoken to my counterpart several times this year alone, and I think it’s ah, you know, he has a background of actually being in America, if you will. Ah is part of his military service. So have a very good relationship. And as we talked, he understands that we fully support Indonesia’s sovereignty, that we support the Miss partners who are trying to push back about, uh, against China’s maligned behavior in the region, particularly as they contest Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone. There. We do encourage, as we do all allies and partners, the purchase of American equipment. Why? Because first and foremost, it brings us together Secondly, it improves our interoperability in case something does happen. And third, we just think they are better alternatives to anything else out there. So for those reasons, we continue to talk about arm sells between our countries. My view is we could she continue to meet and have discussions again? I’ve done it several times with the with the defense minister, and I hope to visit Indonesia during my tenure as well. So I think all those things are very important. Um, the question about shared values, but the values we could list the room. I’ll give you things to come immediately to Monet’s things like democracy, right? Open markets, human rights, respect for human rights, respect for individual rights and liberties, liberties, freedom of the press, freedom of association. All those things we, uh, we take, uh, we know, at least for us, are embodied in the United States Constitution, something that I and others have sworn an oath to support, defend and with regard to the ebbs and flows of other countries. I try and stay out of politics here in the United States, and I’m certainly not getting going to get into the politics abroad, but those are our shared values, a short list and those are the things that we’ve we’ve sought Teoh to ah, advance and support and defend for many, many years and we believe that it has served all of us well for decades, particularly in the Indo Pacific. Speaking of the Indo Pacific, we talked about you know, the Japan security role, if you will, uh, I see Japan’s security role as growing and they’re clearly an anchor of security in the Pacific. I have Ah, we have a great relationship with the Japanese. Many American forces air there in Japan on, and we obviously welcome a more active role for jib Japan in the region. It’s a trusted friend with excellent capacity and growing capabilities, and again we just see the relationship growing there. And I speak often to my Japanese counterpart on what they could do and how we can better work together as treaty allies with regard to Mischief Reef, you know, with in accordance with the U. N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 orbital arbitral ruling, we believe that PRC’s claims are unlawful and so we will not recognize any easy around the artificial island or territorial waters. And again, we will continue to work closely with our partners and allies and and conduct the fun office that we intend to do to be clear to the China that we don’t respect their claims. I think the last issue was, uh, nuclear crisis stability between Pakistan and India. Obviously, when you’ve got two countries would make nuclear capabilities and intention between them, it’s something we watch very closely. I also talked to my Indian and Pakistani counterparts fairly routinely, and this is just something that you know. You got to keep a close watch on because nobody wants to see a conflict between two countries and certainly not one that could escalate. I don’t see any indications right now that that that’s happening at all. But it is something that we watch not just in that part of the world, but in other parts of the world. Obviously, it’s a sectary, thank you very much. I think we’ll stop in four minutes, but that gives me time to ask for two more questions you to reply and then for me to thank you for the 59 minutes you so generously given to us. So the two people I’ll ask will be Alan Boden from the UK and then shutting piece from Cambodia. So Alan Boudin the floor is yours. Thanks very much and good often in from London. Two part question for me but would be quite concise. We’ve thinking, especially about into a specific number, interested as well in how you view the balance for the US between the Indo Asia Pacific on your Atlantic, on more perhaps, call NATO region of operations and your plan’s proponents four presidents and priorities between those two regions and then relates to that. How you view the role of partnerships with countries in that more NATO or your Atlantic region and how the role of those partnerships. In the end, a patient mentioned five eyes. But if you’d like to say more about that, be very grateful. Thank you very much, Thank you. And we’ll conclude with the executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Affairs. Sardine piece What? Thank you so much, Mr Secretary ISS. I’m glad to have the last question as well. My questions, too, is which does to this year US and Cambodia celebrating the 70 years anniversary of our diplomatic relations, but in the last few years, relation has not been on a good term. In the Indo Pacific strategy, there is a specific paragraph outlining addresses for sick quickly to Cambodia and China relation or Cambodia increasing close relation to China. And there was a big accusation in D. C for the last few months. That might be. There’s a speculations that China is having a building a naval base in the Cambodia territory. From your perspective. Missile secretary. What do you think can help to strengthen Cambodia US relation? Putting aside your politics and the accusation off such Thank you so much. It’s a secretary. Well, thanks for those questions. I think on the I’ll go to the last one first, if you will on us Cambodia. I think its let’s speak to the broader issue and that is concerned about the country’s If you are moving closer into China’s orbit and we see that happening for different reasons, a. A major reason why countries do is because China is coercing them there, threatening economic sanction or diplomatic isolation or doing other things. We also see China enticing countries with with loans with loans that end up being debt traps or the promise of building out naval bases that might benefit them commercially. But all these are is a a Chinese effort to expand its power and expand its influence in the region and then, of course, beyond the region as well. You know, China’s first base overseas is actually in Djibouti, of all places, so we get very concerned where we see countries succumbing to this type of coercion. That’s why I’ve said our ambition in the Indo Pacific is too defend our friends and allies and partners to defend the sovereignty of countries. Teoh defend the international rules based order in all those things and then call upon China to live up to its commitments. So again, I think the more that countries can embrace the same concepts and can help stand up to the Chinese and and stand for values that I discussed on this call, I think the better because if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves in a situation where China is calling the shots and we have a completely different international order or least regional water. That puts China at the top and really is based on Chinese values. And I don’t think those air things that any of us want Teoh want to see happen in the long run with regard to the first question Indo Pacific versus Europe. I don’t see it as a competition per se. Our national defense strategy says we’re now in an era of great power competition. That means that that we have to prepare for high intensity conflict going forward and that we’ve kind of teared countries and the top tier is China, then Russia. And so that’s why I put particular emphasis on those two regions and in particular the two commands responsible for them Indo pay, calm and European command, respectively. That doesn’t mean it’s not a global competition, because it is. We see both China and Russia in far flung places, whether it’s ah you know, the Arctic, where China, where Russia clearly has a boundary but China doesn’t we see them in Africa? We see them in the Middle East, So my goal is to balance those 22 areas and to make sure that I prioritize them appropriately but also in the context of the other commands that we have out there, which is why I’m taking a very close look at the how we resource our disposition of forces. All those things that we do around the globe to make sure that we’re optimizing to prepare for this long term competition this great power competition, if you will with China than Russia. Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for having some inspired such a annexing conversation with such a very diverse participation on the Indo Pacific. Thank you, Mr Secretary, Also for supporting double I double s efforts that defense diplomacy and promoting both reasoned debate and strategic transparency in which you’ve engaged so wonderfully today. And finally let me hope that we will be able to see you personally. Between the fourth and the sixth of December at the Double I double s Manama dialogue and the King number Bahrain, where we’ll regarding defence and foreign policy and national security establishments from almost all the regions that have been engaged in this coal. Mr. Secretary from all of us at the double I double s and all who were on this Cole, thank you very much for your engagement. Good. Thank you, John. Thanks for the opportunity. Speak Teoh to your audience today. Thank you for hosting this. Very well Done. A good discussion. Wide ranging discussion. And I do hope to ah, follow up with you sometime soon. If not Manama, then Shangri La next year. So thank you once again. Thank you, Mr Secretary. Hope.