Mattis urges China to act on North Korea threat

Cheryl Sanders
June 6, 2017

The United States has turned up the heat on North Korea and its main benefactor China, calling the North Koreans a "clear and present danger" and chastising the Chinese for coercive
behaviour in the South China Sea.

His sharp words for both countries suggest he believes China will, out of self-interest, exert leverage on North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile programs even as Washington pushes Beijing to change course in the South China Sea.

This message was tempered by a welcoming of what he described as China's "renewed commitment to work with the worldwide community toward denuclearisation" of North Korea. The Koryo Bank was linked to a party office that managed the finances of North Korea's top officials, including leader Kim Jong-un.

In another sign of increased pressure on North Korea, Japan's navy and air force began a three-day military exercise with two USA aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan on Thursday.

North Korea has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of past year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States. "The longstanding alliance between the USA and Japan contributes to the peace and stability in the region". "We consider it urgent", he added.

Sylvie Goulard, France's armed forces minister, noted that North Korea is the only country to have conducted nuclear tests in the 21st century, including two a year ago alone.

The G7, which includes Japan as well as the United States and several Western European countries, expressed "concern" about the East and South China Seas in a leadership communique from the May 26-27 event in Italy.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, despite partial counter-claims from Taiwan and several southeast Asian nations including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

"We recognize no nation is an island isolated from the others, we stand with our allies and the global community to address pressing security challenges, and do so together", he said.

"We oppose countries militarizing artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims unsupported by global law", he said.

Mattis sought to ease concerns for allies in the Asia-Pacific, saying the region was a priority and the primary effort was alliance building.

But he said the country's President Rodrigo Duterte "has a very clear view about resolving these issues in the Philippines by the defence and security agencies by the Philippines". The house delegation was led by Republican Mac Thornberry, who said that much like Mattis they were there to convey their commitment to the region.

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.

Mattis said the United States welcomed China's economic development, but he anticipated "friction" between the two countries.

"China and other regional partners should also step up their efforts to help solve this security situation, which threatens not just that region, but really presents a threat to the entire world", Tillerson told reporters in Sydney after a meeting between the Australian and USA foreign and defense ministers.

North Korea's nuclear ambitions are threatening to Russia, a Russian official said Sunday.

Other reports by iNewsToday