Carter Starts Asia-Pacific Trip

Defense Secretary Ash Carter departed on Monday on his first trip to the Asia-Pacific region in his capacity as the top US defense official, anno?unced the Pentagon. After delivering a speech at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Carter flew to Japan for two days of consultations starting on Wednesday. He is scheduled to discuss the status of the defense strategic guidelines review with senior Japanese officials, along with other matters of “mutual interest,” in advance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s anticipated visit to Washington, D.C., at the end of April. Carter will then continue on to Seoul to discuss regional security matters with South Korean officials and meet with US service members. On his way back to the US mainland, he will visit US Pacific Command headquarters in Honolulu on April 11. Carter is scheduled to make a second trip to the region in May, with stops in Singapore and India. He will address the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore and discuss bilateral defense cooperation in India, just months after President Obama’s visit to India. In November, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel canceled a planned trip to Southeast Asia due to what Pentagon officials said were other schedule demands.