Defense Secretary Mattis just happened to be in Chile.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis highlights a joint agreement he signed on cooperation between the United States and Chile in cyber operations and protection of Chile’s cyber domain during a visit to Santiago, Chile, Aug. 16, 2018.

***

Reported on the 9th: Mattis embarks Sunday, Aug. 12 on his first trip to South America while leading the Department of Defense.

The White House declared 2018 the “Year of the Americas,” and the Secretary’s trip underscores the Department’s strong defense ties with Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. These relationships are critical to a collaborative, prosperous and secure Western hemisphere.

Secretary Mattis will begin his trip in Brazil, where he will meet with senior officials and defense leaders. He will also speak at the Escola Superior de Guerra, the country’s war college, and visit the national monument to Brazilian service members killed in World War II.

Secretary Mattis will then visit Argentina, where he will meet with senior defense officials to discuss defense issues of mutual interest.

His third stop is Chile to exchange strategic perspectives with senior officials.

Secretary Mattis concludes his trip in Colombia, where he will meet members of the newly elected administration.

***

LIMA (Reuters) – A LATAM Airlines passenger plane that departed Lima for Santiago, Chile, on Thursday was forced to land at an airport in southern Peru due to a bomb threat received by Chilean authorities, Peru’s Transportation Ministry said.

No one was injured on LATAM flight 2369 and a team for deactivating explosives has been notified, the ministry said. “Right now the situation is under control,” it added in a statement on Twitter.

***

On the island of Crete in Greece, a German Condor Airways passenger plane made an emergency landing at Chania airport over an alleged bomb threat on board, local media reported.

The aircraft with more than 270 passengers was en route from Egypt’s Hurghada to Duesseldorf, according to Skai broadcaster.

All passengers and 11 crew members safely left the plane after the landing. The reports of the bomb threat are being checked by the police.

Local military officials say the Boeing 757 jet was escorted to Chania airport by two Greek air force F-16 fighters scrambled after the pilot reported the threat, and landed without incident late Thursday.

The airport had been placed on a state of alert but that has since been lifted.

Denise Simon