IS US, Australian officials warn of returning foreign fighters

Mr Mattis said the United States would continue to take great care in avoiding civilian casualties but added that "at the same time, we're going to have to take that caliphate down, or the attacks that you've seen going on around the world that you all have reported on will continue".

"We are united, as I said, in our resolve, even against an enemy that thinks by hurting us they can scare us", Mattis said, appearing in Sydney alongside U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for the first time outside the United States.

In their first joint appearance overseas, America's top diplomat and its Pentagon chief offered public reassurances to a longstanding ally at odds with President Donald Trump's abandonment of the Paris climate agreement.

After the annual AUSMIN talks between the United States and Australia, Defence Secretary James Mattis fleshed out his new tactic, which aims to stop foreign fighters spreading around the globe as their so-called caliphate crumbles - a tactic strongly supported by Australia.

Two top White House officials held high level talks with Australia's foreign and defence ministers in Sydney on Monday, in the wake of the London terrorist attack.

Tillerson, who reports have suggested was among those who counselled Trump not to scrap the deal, said last week the United States would pursue unilateral efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions despite plans to pull out of the Paris accord. Australia is one of Washington's staunchest allies and troops from the two nations have fought alongside each other in all major conflicts since World War One. That's why we travel to the region.

-Australian talks in Sydney, Mattis said the allies are united in their resolve to defend against IS. "Well, we don't scare".

At the 15th Asia Security Summit in Singapore, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, held from Friday to Sunday, Mattis and Payne had urged China to become more involved and to use its influence over North Korea to end its missile program.

Police say three men drove a van over London Bridge on Saturday and struck pedestrians before crashing the vehicle outside a pub.

Police fired 50 bullets to stop the violence, killing the three attackers and wounding one member of the public.

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said her government is concerned by IS linkages in Asia and the Pacific.

"For Australia, from our perspective today it's important that we do discuss Isis' links in south-east Asia, violent extremist organisations and the risk that returning foreign fighters who may endeavour to resume positions in their own countries might pose in this region", she said.

"China and other regional partners should also step up their efforts to help solve this security situation, which threatens not just that region, but really presents a threat to the entire world", Tillerson told reporters in Sydney after a meeting between the Australian and USA foreign and defence ministers.

  • Leroy Wright