U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in a speech yesterday during a gathering of defense officials in the Asia-Pacific region that as a matter of national security, the United States regards the threat from North Korea as a clear and present danger and is a strategic challenge to regional peace and prosperity.
Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Asia’s premier defense summit, Secretary Mattis said that North Korea’s maturing nuclear weapons program is a “threat to all” and pointed out that President Trump has made it clear that the era of strategic patience is over.
North Korea has launched a series of ballistic missile tests and conducted a total of 5 nuclear tests since 2006.
There are lingering concerns about a 6th nuclear test on the horizon.
The United Nations has already slapped a long list of sanctions on North Korea since their first nuclear test in 2006.
On Friday the U.N. Security Council unanimously extended Security Council 1718 which expands the number of individuals and entities facing sanctions, including an asset freeze and travel ban on North Koreans involved in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Secretary Mattis said in his speech on Saturday from Singapore that the actions of the regime in North Korea are illegal under international law and “there is strong international consensus that the current situation cannot continue.”
Mattis singled out China in his speech and said that the Trump administration is encouraged by China’s renewed effort to work with the international community toward denuclearization.
“North Korea poses a threat to us all, and it’s therefore imperative that we do our part, each of us, to fulfill our obligations and work together to support our shared goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” Secretary Mattis said.
Secretary Mattis reiterated the words of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoken at the U.N. in April when he said about North Korea, “Our goal is not regime change, and we do not want to destabilize the Asia-Pacific region” but said they will increase diplomatic and economic pressure until Pyongyang,”finally and permanently abandon its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.”
Admitting that the U.S. still opposes countries militarizing artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law in reference to China’s past actions in the South China Sea, Secretary Mattis said that he believes the United States can still engage China diplomatically and economically to ensure our relationship is beneficial for both countries and also to the region.
Claiming that all countries should have a voice in shaping the international system, Secretary Mattis also emphasized that “ignoring or violating international law threatens all that this inclusive global community has built together during the last 70 years.”
Commenting about China’s military construction activities on coral reefs in the South China Sea which have been captured via satellite imagery (see featured photo on this page), Secretary Mattis said that the scope and effect of China’s actions are different from those of several other countries in several key ways.
“This includes the nature of its militarization, China’s disregard for international law, its contempt for other nations’ interests, and its efforts to dismiss non-adversarial resolution of issues” Secretary Mattis said.
Written and Edited By: