U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis speaks at a joint media conference Monday at Government House in Sydney, Australia. The Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations are the principal forum for bilateral consultations with the United States. The annual meeting brings together the Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and for Defence with the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense, along with senior officials from both portfolios. (Getty Images)
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Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Monday that despite the recent terror attacks on London, the United States would not be scared off from standing with its allies in the fight against radical Islamic State terror, according to Reuters.
On Saturday, Islamists attacked London citizens by driving a van into a crowd on London Bridge and then stabbing restaurant patrons with knives. The attack on Saturday took seven lives and wounded 48. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
Appearing in Sydney, Australia, alongside U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a joint meeting with their Australian counterparts, Mattis pledged U.S. support in combating global terrorism.
"We are united, as I said, in our resolve, even against an enemy that thinks by hurting us they can scare us," Mattis said. "Well, we don't scare."
Mattis, Tillerson, and Australian Secretary of Defense Marise Payne discussed subjects such ISIS, stabilizing Afghanistan, and the North Korean nuclear threats. According to ABC News, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the subject of "countering terrorism" was high on the meeting's agenda.
"The global terrorist threat is ever evolving, we've seen brutal attacks in a number of European cities, we've thwarted attacks here in Australia, and so we want to discuss with you, the links back into the Middle East, the role we're playing with you in Iraq and Syria and also Afghanistan," Bishop told Mattis and Tillerson. "We are united in our resolve to defeat ISIS, the Islamic State terrorist organization and its ilk."
Australia and the U.S. have maintained a strong partnership despite disagreements between President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, specifically over the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Tillerson said during the meeting that it's best to address these concerns face to face, according to the Washington Post.
“In terms of addressing those concerns, this is how we address them: to travel to the region to meet with our counterparts and to talk about all the issues that are important to them, and to hear concerns they have about the administration and its position, relative to whether it be security issues, or economic and trade issues,” Tillerson said.
The exchange between Tillerson and Bishop was friendly, with Bishop recognizing that while Australia and the U.S. may differ on some priorities and policy decisions, both countries often find themselves aligning with one another.
Turnbull defended Trump and the U.S. when asked at the Shangri-La Dialogue last week, a defense conference in Singapore, about the U.S.' withdrawal from TPP and the Paris agreement. Turnbull said that while these decisions were "disappointing," the Pacific nations should “take care not to rush to interpret an intent to engage on different terms as one not to engage at all.”
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