U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis took his first overseas trip in office to South Korea and Japan this week. On Saturday, in Tokyo, he assured both American allies they can expect stable U.S. relations for the foreseeable future, including a continuing American military presence in each nation.
"At this time, we do not see any need for dramatic military moves at all," Mattis said, suggesting President Trump will not follow through with campaign comments about requiring the Asian countries to pay and provide for more of their own defense.
Mattis also took an aggressive attitude toward China, accusing Beijing of "shredding the trust of nations in the region." However, he sharply rejected military measures as a means of settling competing Japanese and Chinese territory claims to a chain of disputed islands in the South China Sea. "What we have to do is exhaust all efforts, diplomatic efforts, to try to resolve this properly, maintaining open lines of communication," Mattis said.