U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is returning to Washington Sunday after a week-long trip visiting U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region.
Secretary Carter spent the last day of his Asia-Pacific tour speaking with military leaders at the U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Honolulu.
He heard from commanders on issues ranging from the land disputes in the South China Sea to the missile threat on the Korean peninsula. He, in turn, briefed the command’s leadership on his visit to Japan and South Korea.
“The two issues I heard most about on this trip were, first TPP, and second, the importance of U.S. alliances and partnerships to the stability of this, one of the future’s most important regions," Carter said.
TPP is the Trans Pacific Partnership, an agreement intended to expand trade among a dozen Asia-Pacific nations, including the U.S.
Carter thanked Admiral Sam Locklear, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, for leading the effort to ensure security in the region as the defense secretary oversees the next phase of the United States’ refocus on the region.
Prior to the Pacific Command headquarters visit, Carter boarded the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, docked at Pearl Harbor. He thanked Navy sailors on board for their dedication to protecting the Pacific.