Published: Sat, June 17, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Mattis presses China on North Korea, South China Sea

Mattis presses China on North Korea, South China Sea

For his part Mattis on Saturday pledged the U.S. would stay engaged on North Korea, calling Kim Jong Un regime's missile program "a clear and present danger". He also said he thinks China ultimately will see it as a liability rather than an asset.

The UN security council unanimously passed a resolution with new sanctions against North Korea Friday after the regime launched its ninth ballistic missile test of the year.

Mattis also sought to reassure allies in the region that the USA was not withdrawing from its global leadership role, despite President Trump's decision on Thursday to withdraw the US from the 195-nation Paris climate accord.

The US Navy on May 25 conducted a "freedom of navigation" operation in the South China Sea, when the USS Dewey guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles (22.22km) of Mischief Reef (Meiji Reef, 美濟礁) in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島). "We can not and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo", Mattis added.

But in Singapore Gen Mattis also struck a positive note on U.S.

Amid growing threats to security, the USA secretary of defense on Saturday sought to reassure nervous allies about America's commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

-China relations, saying that while competition between the two countries "is bound to occur, conflict is not inevitable". "We will pledge to work closely with China where we share common cause".

He again proposed a simultaneous freeze of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and South Korea and the United States' joint military exercises.

In the last several months, North Korea has tested numerous missiles.

The Trump administration "seems to stake its credibility on North Korea refraining from developing an ICBM, without sending a strong signal to deter it from doing so".

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He repeated that the United States will continue working with the United Nations, allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure "until Pyongyang finally and permanently abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs".

"We want to stop this".

"For me, the troubling thing is I don't know what the strategic plan of the United States is", Cohen added.

"The US would be well advised to urgently take measures to save the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans in the mainland rather than being concerned about the security of those in South Korea."

The spokesperson also said that the U.S. is "sadly mistaken" if it thinks that such missile interception system can prevent nuclear strikes by the Strategic Force of the KPA.

"The interceptor that we flew yesterday certainly keeps pace with and I would actually say helps us outpace the threat through 2020", Jim Syring, the director of the MDA said.

Gen. Mattis avoided answering was repeatedly asked about Mr Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris pact.

The issue arose briefly during questions from his audience, but Mattis did not address it directly.

"The U.S. steps up its military buildup including modernization of nuclear weapons just in order to obtain exclusive and permanent possession of the most sophisticated weapon system in the world".

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