Friday, 20 October, 2017

US Defense Secretary Mattis praises China on North Korea

Craig Ferguson | 14 June, 2017, 06:54

Though US military exercises in the Korean peninsula had been controversial in the global community, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged Security Council members to enforce the new sanctions.

Russian Federation has denounced North Korea's nuclear ambitions as a "direct threat" to the country.

The council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution that put North Korea's suspected spy chief, 13 other officials and four entities on the United Nations sanctions blacklist, hitting them with a global travel ban and an assets freeze.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, links hands with South Korea's Minister of Defense Han Minkoo, left, and Japan's Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada ahead of a trilateral meeting at the 2017 International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, on Saturday, June 3, 2017 in Singapore.

"The scope and effect of China's construction activities in the South China Sea differ from those of other countries in several key ways", Mattis said.

"I believe that if China and the United States can ensure no conflict, as well as maintain mutual respect, cooperation and trust, it will contribute greatly to security in the Asia Pacific and the world", Lt Gen He Lei, the head of Beijing's delegation, told reporters.

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 of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

British Deputy Ambassador to the UN Peter Wilson (l.) and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (r.) vote on a UN Security Council resolution to expand its North Korean blacklist.

. In April, Beijing halted imports of coal shipments from North Korea, one of the isolated country's few sources of income, but has taken a less confrontational approach than Washington with calls for more dialogue.

As expected, Mattis saved his harshest words for North Korea, calling its nuclear weapons program a threat to all, and taking the Kim Jong-un regime to task for its "long record of murder of diplomats, of kidnapping, killing of sailors, and criminal activity".

The United States has said it is willing to talk to North Korea if it halts its missile and nuclear tests.

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"We want to stop this".

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

The U.S. has about 28,500 troops permanently based in South Korea, a defense treaty ally.

Inada took the podium following her USA counterpart's speech.

French Minister for Armed Forces Sylvie Goulard noted that North Korea is the only country to have conducted nuclear tests in the 21st century, including two past year alone.

The UN Security Council on Friday (Saturday in Manila) imposed sanctions on 18 North Korean officials and entities as the United States vowed to respond to Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests "through other means, if necessary".

The analyst highlights the timing of Pyongyang's latest missile tests, saying those launches coincided with the joint military drills between the US and South Korea. An interceptor launched from coastal California soared over the Pacific on Tuesday, scoring what officials called a direct hit on a target missile fired from a Pacific test range.

The trip builds on months of Mattis reassuring allies while at the same time working for President Trump, whose nationalist agenda included withdrawing Thursday from the worldwide Paris agreement stemming climate change.

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

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