In a panel on CGTN America’s The Heat, IPI’s Dr. Merrill Matthews sounded off on last weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue discussing security in the Asian-Pacific Rim, as well as continued talks between the U.S. and North Korea over denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
In his analysis of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ stern warnings to China over its provocations in the South China Sea, Mathews said pushback from the U.S. is reassurance to other Asian-Pacific nations that America is “back in the game.”
Matthews underscored the U.S. has an interest in assuring the international sea lanes remain open for trade. “[President] Obama claimed he was reassured China was not going to militarize these islands. The U.S. now believes that has happened.”
In regards to the approaching June 12 summit between the U.S. and North Korea, Matthews was asked his thoughts regarding the DPRK’s claims to remove their nuclear weapons under the condition that the U.S. withdraws its troops from the DMZ and also its “nuclear umbrella” from Japan and South Korea.
“It’s a big hurdle,” Matthews conceded, noting there is room to be “cautiously optimistic.” If South Korea and Japan are willing to agree to these conditions over a period of several years, President Trump would possibly accept such terms, said Matthews.
Click here to watch the full panel discussion.