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Joint Chiefs Chairman Begins Visit to Indo-Pacific Region

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived here yesterday, beginning another trip to the Indo-Pacific region to meet with allies and U.S. service members.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford is meeting with Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, before moving on to Sydney for a counterpart visit with Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin in Australia.

Dunford checks in regularly with America’s Pacific-region allies. The region is one he visits most frequently. His visit comes on the heels of Defense Secretary James N. Mattis’ visit to Indonesia and Vietnam.

Situation in the Pacific Region

The two chiefs of defense will discuss the situation in the Pacific. The situation with North Korea, relations with China and efforts to counter terrorism in the region will be among the issues discussed.

Australia is one of the United States’ closest allies, and Dunford and Binskin will look for ways to make it even closer.

Following the visit to Sydney, Dunford will move to Darwin, the capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory and home to the U.S. Marine Rotational Force. Marines and supporting air elements have been based in the tropical city since 2012. Dunford will meet with U.S. service members before moving on to Thailand.

In Bangkok, the chairman will hold counterpart talks with Thai Army Gen. Tarnchaiyan Srisuwan. He will also meet with Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. As a young Marine officer, Dunford participated in the first Cobra Gold exercise held in Thailand in 1981.

On his way back to Washington, Dunford will stop in Guam and meet with service members and their families based there.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)


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