US Secretary of Defence James Mattis (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – US Secretary of Defence James Mattis has reiterated his country’s stance on the East Sea issue and, at the same time, called on Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) to join hands with the US to prevent any single country from dominating the sea.

Speaking after meeting with Japanese and RoK officials in Singapore on October 19, Secretary Mattis held that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and partners should closely cooperate with each other. He affirmed that the cooperation is to prevent any single country from rewriting international provisions on this sea line, and expressed his hope that all the countries, small or big, would respect those provisions.

Besides, before stating that the US cannot accept China’s militarization of the East Sea or any use of force in the region, Secretary Mattis stressed that the US will maintain its activities in the air, the sea and operations anywhere allowed by the international law and demanded by the national interests.

He was in Singapore for the fifth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM ).-VNA