Pentagon officials say James Mattis will travel to Japan and South Korea in early February for his first overseas visit as defense secretary. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross, confirmed the trip Wednesday but declined to give details, including dates.
At his Senate confirmation hearing and in his first days in office, Mattis, a retired Marine general, has stressed the importance of maintaining international alliances. President Donald Trump raised concerns during the campaign by asserting that some allies are not pulling their weight and by suggesting that he might not object to Japan or South Korea developing their own nuclear weapons if they do not pay more for U.S. military support.