US Defence Secretary Mattis has said the US and UK stand together against the increasing threat from North Korea.

“Together we send a message of transatlantic resolve” he said.

Newly appointed Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was hosting his US counterpart in London for a bilateral meeting and in what they both called a volatile and dynamic security environment, Gen Mattis said they stand “united in condemning North Korea’s aggressive provocation.”

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“From fighting in the trenches of the Great War to countering Russian aggression and tackling Daesh today, the UK has been America’s closest partner for a century.

Today our countries are cooperating on everything from operations and intelligence to innovation and this meeting is an opportunity to continue strengthening our special relationship.

We face some major threats going forward, we have to be constantly vigilant to defeat the Daesh death cult. This year they have murdered citizens in New York, Manchester and London.

We must continue to confront increased Russian aggression, and deal with the disruptive and dangerous behaviour of North Korea. We must never, ever flinch in the face of aggression.”

This morning, it was also reported that a North Korean soldier defected to the South after being shot and wounded by the North Korean military.

The soldier was reportedly found on the south side of the border village of Panmunjom, about 50 metres south of the Military Demarcation Line, wounded in his shoulder and elbow, according to a South Korean defence ministry official.


  1. What exactly is the UK standing side to side with?
    Yesterday the US displayed 3 carriers side by side patrolling off the coast of Korea.
    The UK is currently discussing further cuts, be it a reduction in minesweepers in the Gulf, the amphibious fleet including Royal Marines or reductions of complete Naval bases (Devonport).
    I would suggest that if we are to stand by side with anyone it should be those waiting to find out whether they still have careers in the service they joined.
    It is also Ironic that ACM Peach is sat at the table – he’s off to run NATO.
    Just as an aside – POTUS and US Congress have both just agreed manpower increase in all 4 of their service arms and voted to increase the overall budget – it is only the Senate to go and it looks as though they will ask for more.
    Think about that when the new Secretary of Defence reports at Christmas when he talks about “painful but necessary reductions” in capabilities – Mery Christmas

    • The USA proved to be a reliable ally in the Falklands war of 1982.

      The supply of latest weaponry from US military stocks and intelligence assisted in our victory.

      • Gibraltar yes, emphatically yes. The Falklands is a little more of a gray area. In 82 the US supplied weapons from US stocks and provided intel to Britain.
        However there were and still are several major caveats. First you Secretary Weinberger acted without consultation with the Senate or the Joint Chiefs forcing the Administration to support him. Second the US had to creatively interpret the Rio Pact in order to not have to intervene. America chose to the interpretation that it was a defense pact and so as lonas Argentina was the aggressor conducting operations on another’s territory non binding. Unless the UK commenced combat operations on mainland Argentina. Third the US asked both side after the conflict to go into arbitration to settle the dispute. Neither side agreed because both knew they could lose. Fourth Weinberger did not consult the JCS because he knew they were divided. European command in favor of the UK. With SOUTHCOM preferring neutrality or siding with Argentina.

      • Mike – I fear for once we are going to disagree over the Falklands and the level of support from the USA.
        US Secretary of State Haig was clearly batting for the Argies. He even tried to lecture Maggie – big mistake. Reagan kept the USA totally neutral until the shooting war started and in doung so encouraged Argie intransigence. Possibly he was too thick to understand the complexities involved or he was more concerned about ‘Contras’. Who knows? But Jeane Kirkpatrick at the UN was very much batting for the Argies and came into conflict with Weinberger (at defence) who is the only one who comes out with any decency. But overall it was an attitude of negativity, doubt we could do it and ultimately betrayal. As papers released from the Reagan archive show:

        The only assistance we got in arms from the USA was when we were allowed to use US direct supply Sidewinders rather than wait to re-supply through the UK purchase / supply chain. We actually got more satellite Intell. from Norway and better local Intell. from friendly South American countries

        The offer of the Iwo Jima carrier was a damned insult. It was offered only if one of ours was sunk, no US Navy crew would be available and no US Harriers would be used. So we would have had to create a new crew, get them over to the USA, train them in how to run a foreign ship, get the aircraft to it and then get it from San Diego in the Pacific to the South Atlantic. All while the Task Force carrier force was halved. A real offer of support would have been for a US carrier group to set sail from the East Coast and ‘just happen to be’ in the area when it all kicked off with a warning to the Argies to be very very careful.

        I am sorry to appear a bit direct but its a bit personal and I saw nothing but betrayal by the Yanks in our hour of most need. They did what they did in WWII: Stood back until we were winning and then claimed some credit. Or all of it in the case of WWII.

  2. Personally, I would close military bases on the falklands now to save money and perhaps sustain more of our navy/air force/army. I was supportive at the time in ’82 and for many years afterwards, but in the face of more cuts Mount Pleasant is low hanging fruit to me. The falklands are neither strategic or important given that its supposed resources are never realised.

    we should focus on european and middle east security now and build the right resources to secure that. I would also cut the foreign aid budget and give some of that to the MOD. Tough times need tough responses rather than just continuing to salami cut

    • The abandonment of the people of the Falklands, and it’s the people that really matter rather than the territory, is politically unacceptable.

      • Not to me its not. Cutting the UK forces even further simply to afford those citizens the right to live 10,000 miles away is even more unacceptable. There is no business case in the falklands and notions of self-determination etc ran out of change years ago.

        they can all move back to blighty if they want to be british. plenty of sheep farming to be had in Scotland and wales – even looks the same.

        • A Citizen is a Citizen in every clime and place they live. The US for example is just as hyper protective about Guam, the Marianas and Samoa as it is Rhode Island. “Notions of self determination ran out of change?” Well good God, why are we living in democracies?
          There is only one thing that should not be up for a vote and that is Secession.

          • I would be more worried about those citizens in northern Ireland or even canvey Island for that matter who are closer at hand, contribute and may leave the UK rather than those who are net takers 10,000 miles away. we are not the US, Mount Pleasant is not a huge strategic base and the situation is very different.

            Now, Falklands base or amphibious capability? I would rather keep the amphibious capability. Interestingly and ironically the future of the former may be dependent on the retention of the latter

    • If you start abandoning the defense of British territories, where will it end?

      We have had governments that have chosen to cut savagely the fabric of this nation rather than go after the opt-out of taxation by the rich. It’s been a long steady choice. As the state has shrunk, causing immense suffering, so has our armed forces. Wealth has been sucked out of circulation with nearly no taxation to sit idly in off-shore accounts. HMG of all parties has allowed that.

      We are still a very wealthy country. It’s a question of our priorities & sticking our head in the sand when as a maritime trading island nation we need strong forces to defend those trade routes. We are very vulnerable being so dependent on trade which could be cut off in a conflict, much more than in either world wars. Too many of the richest corporations & individuals have no loyalty to their parent nations, just to their own selfish interests.

  3. Why is everybody assuming that Devonport should close
    It has twice the capacity of Potsmouth
    More large drydocks
    The home of the amphibious fleet and he marines that are based around the area
    The home of FOST
    A perfect and safe anchorage
    And quick access to the Atlantic
    Plus the fact that it is the only place in the UK that is capable of refitting and FUELING our nuclear ballistic subs
    All in all i think it has a vast amount going for it
    Oh and Raligh is only across the river

  4. If the UK is to keep its expeditionary focus getting rid of oversees bases is a non starter.
    Personally I’d be improving the facilities at the PJOB’s in the Falklands, Ascension, Gibraltar, Cyprus, nor getting rid of them.
    “Defence” is as much about infrastructure as how many this and that.

  5. I hope Secretary Mattis told Williamson and Peach exactly what the US thinks of their plan to transfer the Marines to the Army and do away with out amphibious capability.

    Was totally disgusted with Peach’s comments on Sky News before Sunday’s Remembrance Service.

    RAF is top dog now despite being the junior service (what the hell was Charles doing wearing RAF uniform on Sunday ???), and Peach is happy to sit by and watch his service have its budget ring-fenced whilst the RN is being hollowed out

    • Geoff – I think you will find Prince Charles is (and those round him are) very astute at what uniform to wear when. He has ceremonial and honorary roles in all forces as you know and will rotate uniform as appropriate. One might ask why Princess Anne, with no military background, wears a Royal Navy uniform but the answer is the same. She has an Honorary role.

      I suspect your illogical hatred of the RAF is now seeping into an insult to the Heir.

  6. Julian your so wrong about the Falklands.. Cannot even believe you would say such a thing.. After the 255 British personnel that were lost taking the Falklands back. What on earth would people say about our country if we abandoned the Falkland Islands. I have to say your comments are very weak and naive to be honest.

  7. Just to add to the above.. you say you were a supporter of the 82′ military operation to take back the FI.. Now you make these comments, to basically close the military base and leave the FI to it’s own future without our help is just crazy..

    • tough decisions have to be made. we keep being told there’s no money. naïve? no not me, more like realistic. if we are to properly defend our airspace, our important sea lanes and still have the ability to wage expeditionary warfare to defend our economy and direct interests then we should be diverting falklands defence budget to other defence projects. why do we pay so much to defend a bunch of rocks and penguins 10,000 miles away. The Argentine airforce is all but grounded. I don’t know how much we spend on falklands defence per annum but I bet it would go along way towards paying for some of the stuff for the chop.
      would you really rather have mount pleasant than the amphib warefare capability, 3 battalions of RM, 13+ frigates/destroyers and the rest of the stats that get thrown at us? you won’t get it all so make decisions. me naïve, no I don’t think so

      • Britain spends millions providing housing, healthcare, education and free cash to hundreds of hardened jihadis returning from their jihadi adventures in Iraq and Syria……

        ….. and you want to abandon the Falklands.

        What warped priorities you have.

  8. This subject i cannot agree with you on Julian, have often agreed with your comments on different subjects but not this one.. You say defending a bunch of rocks and penguins 10,000 miles away that shows naivety for a start. We are talking about 3,000 people (Brit’s) that have there own strong community and by the way they are not all sheep farmers as you said in your comments yesterday , also oil industry and fishery, tourism and quite a few people are employed supporting the military garrison..

    The UK keeps a balanced garrison there… about 1000 personnel including 1 patrol ship and a company of soldiers plus 4 Typhoons and rapier air defence missiles soon to be replaced, this is not being to lavish with resources it’s a fair balance for the defence of the Falklands whatever the situation in Argentina.

    Perhaps you should hop on a plane and visit the folks and armed forces personnel down in the Falklands, have a chat with them i think you would feel differently about things afterwards.. Totally agree we should not be losing the Amphibious ships but picking on the Falkland Islands is not the answer.

  9. FFS the choice is not about cutting defence ties and support for the Falklands or loosing ships, aircraft, army battalions or the Royal marines. We as a nation (meaning our government) make tax and spending decisions.
    here are some facts, we have some of the highest personal wealth net individuals in the world living in the uk. Many uk citizens can easily afford million pound houses and lots of luxury holidays and drive around in the latest Porsche, Audi, Mercedes etc. We simply do not tax these very wealthy individuals enough for fear they will leave. Leave and go where? France…give me a break they are work shy and strike too much. Italy? No full of corruption and organised crime. Germany? No too strict, dull and boring. Besides they still want to dominate Europe.
    Then there is,the issue of corporation tax we have one of the lowest rates of corporation tax in the Western world. 3rd I think behind Luxembourg and Italy. HMG could net £10-12 billion a year more just by putting corporation tax back up by 1%, the Torries cut it by 2% in 2015 I think!
    Tax avoidance.if HMRC went after the shaded cash in hand economy and tax avoidance schemes shutting down loopholes outlined in the “paradise papers” they would net £20-30 billion a year.
    summary: we are a very wealthy nation. It is upto government to ensure tax revenues are flowing and to ensure a fair and equitable balance between personal aspiration/ lifestyle and the needs of the state to provide public infrastructure and services.
    Defence cuts should be rejected we live in too dangerous a world to tolerate any further cuts in numbers, ships or capabilities. HMG should be told to find the money. Simple!

    • Switzerland

      Just a selection of the great many countries that have a lower corporation tax rate than the UK.

      Fun fact: When the UK Government lowered the rate, receipts increased.
      Fun fact 2: Ireland, at just 12.5% corp tax rate collects 50% more per capita in corpo tax revenues than the UK

      Lesson: Lower the rate and reap the rewards.

      Capital is mobile
      Wealth is mobile.

      Attack either and the are smart enough and mobile enough to move elsewhere….. and they will.

      You are right though.
      The UK is very wealthy and can afford a lot more money for defence.
      The UK government has more money now than it has ever had in the states history.

      However it is important to remember that most British households contribute NOTHING to the state.

      Nearly 60% of all UK households are net beneficiaries from the state.
      A small minority of people and companies pay for practically everything.

      The Mad Mao McDonnell notion of attacking those relative few who already pay for everything is bunk.

      Venezuela defaulted today….. there but for the grace of a general election goes Britain.

    • Mr Bell – I would suggest you read carefully Joe’s brilliant expose of your Leftie ideals. Your Messiah (oooh jeremyyyy) is a Marxist of the ‘Old Skool’ for whom everyone who has more than a few bob put aside should be sacrificed on the altar of Marxist Socialism, where excessive borrowing can be labelled ‘investment’ and he can create a ‘Client State’ of welfare dependent voters. (Oddly enough a Blair policy)

      Of course his proposals would never touch people like himself, McDonnell, Abbott, Thornberry (sorry Lady Newby) and all the rest of the millionaire Champagne Socialist North Londoners. Just those evil ‘Bankers’ who pay £ Billions in a wide variety of tax and terrible wealth creators like Dyson and JCB.

      You align yourself with very clever manipulating people who fabricate trigger phrases like ‘Bedroom Tax’ and ‘Rape Tax’ to divert real debate and have an army of delusional students tapping away projecting Momentum Socialist nonsense and making it look plausible.

      The British people looked at Corbyn in June, saw over the precipice and backed away. Its why he only got 4 more seats than Gordon Brown did after he destroyed our economy. His antics over Brexit will destroy him whenever the next election comes. Labour Brexiteers (just look at how many Labour Constituencies voted Leave by huge margins) will not forgive him for meddling with our negotiating prospects, looking like he is acting for the EU from within Parliament and allowing Starmer to play the worst Party Politics with Brexit. He promised we would leave the EU and now does all he can to keep us in. His days are numbered by those Brexiteers who returned to Labour…. Oh and the twice voting students he shafted as well. Because they will, by then, no longer be students and have woken up to reality!

  10. Corbyn and McDonnell would be a disaster for this country given a few years in power.. Not saying the current government are all that great, but i think things would be a lot worse with the left wingers in power.. That’s what worries me so much at the current time both party’s are not exactly enthralling just when we need a strong government at a hugely important time for this country.. you know … ‘ strong and stable’ that sort of thing lol

    • John you are so right. The Tories are so weak. Normally the loony left would not get a look in, and people are actually entertaining the idea.

      • Daniele – In fairness the PM is treading a very fine Parliamentary line because as Major, Thatcher and Cameron knew before her Europe can and will split the Tories. The difference is that Labour is equally split but their tribal loyalties are stronger and it is kept under wraps. Just witness the 15 Tory ‘mutineers’ exposed by the Telegraph today. All ex Ministers, settling scores and using Brexit as their weapon of self destruction.

        May was misled by the Polls (you’d think they would have learned by now) and ran a terrible campaign. But despite all that given the terrorist attacks, tragedies and other non political events she has had to handle she has done damn well (IMHO). She has played the Brexit talks with the EU with patience and determination despite being a Remainer. She has placed in equal measure Remainers and Brexiteers into her Cabinet.

        We are now at a watershed in the next 10 days. The EU has threatened us (despite them being in breach of Article 50) and we will find out if we have a second Iron Lady or an appeaser. My gut instinct is to give them the middle finger (or the Churchill two) and say ‘whatever’ and then use the next 16 months to plan and make arrangements for WTO trading. And of course stop paying anything to the EU for their breach of an International Treaty after March 2018.

        £13 Bn would buy a lot of new ships …..


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here