US Defense Secretary James Mattis warns China on North Korea and South China Sea

June 3, 2017 10:30 pm

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis delivers a speech at the ShangriLa Dialogue Summit in Singapore on June 3, 2017. (AFP photo)

US Defense Secretary says that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses a global threat and warned China over its continued “militarization” of the South China Sea.
“It is therefore imperative that we do our part each of us to support our shared goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula,” Mattis said Saturday at a security forum in Singapore.
The Pentagon chief called North Korea’s nuclear ambitions a “threat to us all,” urging the international community to work together on the issue.
On Monday, North Korea test-fired another missile, the latest in a series of launches and nuclear tests that have increased tensions in the region.
Mattis said Washington is encouraged by Beijing’s efforts to restrain Pyongyang, but said the US will not accept China’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea.
“We oppose countries militarizing artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims,” he said. “We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo.”
On Wednesday, a US Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of a disputed South China Sea island controlled by China.
The so-called freedom of navigation operation was Washington’s first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since President Donald Trump took office.
China said that the US warship trespassed in its waters ‘without permission’ and Chinese warships warned it to leave.

This March 2, 2017 file photo shows the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) as transits the South China Sea. 

China has repeatedly warned against any military activities in the South China Sea.
The South China Sea is the subject of a territorial dispute between China and Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. But those countries seem to have been managing their disputes with China smoothly.
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