Defense Secretary Robert Gates Seeks Help at Asia Security Summit

Defense Secretary Robert Gates had five meetings with U.S. partners at the ‘Shangri-La Dialogue’, the annual Asia security summit.

According to the press release, Gates requested the five countries to assist in the efforts to train the Afghanistan’s security forces. It was his hope that the meetings would strengthen the relationships between the U.S. military with those of the countries involved in the summit.

In regards to his first meeting with Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Gates said, “I commended their defense reforms in recent years and the way those reforms have enabled broadening of defense cooperation and engagement.” He added that their support would be a symbolic victory due to their Islamic democracy.

Gates then met with New Zealand Defense Minister Wayne Mapp and India's national security advisor, Shiv Shankar Menon.

In regards to U.S. relations with India, Gates saw “tremendous improvement in relations and opportunities for cooperation.” They also discussed defense trades, foundational agreements and the need for export controls for both the U.S. and India.

Gates also met with Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh. Gates expressed gratitude for Thanh’s consideration of U.S. servicemembers missing in action and received an invitation to attend an Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers meeting in Hanoi in October.

He ended the day with his meeting with with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae Young.

Gates reaffirmed the U.S.’s forward support. “I did say that I thought that we should ensure that our coordinated response should accomplish two objectives,“ he said. “The first was to reassure the public in the Republic of Korea that our alliance will effectively ensure their security; and second, that our coordinated response enables our initiatives to enhance our capabilities to deter and, if necessary, respond to any further provocation.“

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