Mattis: US stands with Asia-Pacific

Mattis: US stands with Asia-Pacific

Mattis: US stands with Asia-Pacific

The US defense secretary has called North Korea a "clear and present" threat, urging China to recognize Pyongyang as a "strategic liability".

Another Russian firm, the Independent Petroleum Company, has a contract to sell oil to North Korea and "may have" worked to help the country circumvent sanctions, it said.

"On May 29, the U.S. imperialists committed a grave military provocation by letting a formation of infamous B-1B nuclear strategic bombers fly over South Korea once again to stage a nuclear bomb dropping drill", said a statement from North Korea's state-run media outlet KCNA.

"Artificial island construction and indisputable militarisation of facilities on features in worldwide waters undermine regional stability", Mattis said, calling China out over its "disregard for global law" and "contempt for other nations' interests".

President Donald Trump's announcement this week that the US would exit the Paris climate change agreement, along with other campaign trail and policy follow-throughs, are not only raising concerns about the environment and free trade agreements, but also spilling over into the security arena as well.

China's claim in the South China Sea needs to be handled peacefully and through negotiations, not by island-building and placing weaponry on the resulting dry land, Mattis said.

His attendance at the meeting is a first for the Trump administration, and delegates at the meeting will be looking for clarity and assurances about USA commitment to the Asian Pacific.

The North's latest missile launch came less than a week after it test-fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile, which landed in the sea between North Korea and Japan on May 14.

Mattis: US stands with Asia-Pacific
Mattis: US stands with Asia-Pacific

Arids Bearings LLC, a Moscow-based company that provides supplies to UN- and USA -designated Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, was also put on the sanctions list, as well as its director Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin, who was identified as a "frequent business partner" of Tangun officials in Moscow.

U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis addressed the Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defence and security forum, in Singapore on Saturday.

In strong comments on China, Mr Mattis condemned it for its ongoing territorial expansion in the South China Sea while also hinting at a closer strategic relationship with Taiwan. The reclusive country has stepped up its missile testing in recent months, disregarding previous US and worldwide sanctions.

The Australian, Japanese and US defense chiefs also met Saturday to discuss effective ways of tackling North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats. The Pentagon's role, he said, is to reinforce alliances, strengthen USA military capabilities to deter war in Asia, and help enable countries to sustain their own security.

U.S officials have noted the administration's desire to be engaged and active in Asia, to work on free trade issues and the threat of North Korea.

The United Nations Security Council voted on Friday to sharpen sanctions against North Korea after a series of missile launches in recent weeks.

Moscow on Friday said it will not veto a United Nations resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea, despite Kremlin ire over fresh USA punitive measures that hit Russian firms. "While competition between the US and China, the world's two largest economies, is bound to occur, conflict is not inevitable", Mattis said. Earlier this month, it tested what is believed to be its longest range missile yet, potentially capable of carrying a nuclear warhead but still not able to reach the United States.

"Together, we must act now to prevent this threat from growing, otherwise it will place long-term regional security at risk and stunt regional economic dynamism", Mattis said.

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