Japan, France welcome US leadership in the Asia-Pacific

Dianna Christensen
June 7, 2017

Speaking at an global security conference in Singapore, Mattis said the Trump administration is encouraged by China's renewed commitment to working with the US and others to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons.

In opening remarks, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed disappointment over Trump's recent withdrawals from both the Paris Climate Accord and the Trans Pacific Partnership - a multilateral trade deal that was supposed to bind the U.S. economically with 12 other Asian nations.

Numerous delegates and participants at the Dialogue, however, were more interested in Mattis' thoughts on the Trump administration's approach to the ties and interactions with increasingly nervous regional allies and partners, with Mattis asked at the question and answer session if the American-led global order is in the process of being dismantled.

"Bear with us", Mattis said. "So we will still be there and we will be there with you".

Mr Mattis said North Korea had a clear intention of acquiring intercontinental missiles.

After meeting with President Xi Jinping in April, Trump, who once accused China of "raping" the United States, praised its leader as a "good man", saying it would be inappropriate to pressure Beijing while Washington is seeking its help with Pyongyang. It is the seventh sanctions resolution the United Nations body has adopted against the North since the regime's first nuclear test in 2006.

The penalties come as the Trump administration seeks to block North Korea's ability to build a nuclear weapon small enough to put atop a missile, and a ballistic missile powerful enough to deliver it to USA shores.

The UN Security Council first imposed sanctions on Pyongyang in 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear tests and two long-range missile launches.

China has repeatedly warned the United States against any military activities in the South China Sea.

Speaking at the dialogue, Asia's premier security forum, Mattis said the threat from North Korea was "clear and present" and that Pyongyang had increased its pace of pursuing nuclear weapons.

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But she also said she was concerned about the situation in the South China Sea and in the East China Sea.

Mattis reaffirmed all of Washngton's formal defence pacts in the region, describing at length efforts to support South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has tilted toward China.

China claims nearly all the disputed waters, which is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, and its growing military presence has fueled concern in Japan and the West. -China relations but added the two countries must "cooperate for mutual benefit".

Allies around the world have been concerned about the commitment of the United States since Trump took office on January 20 because of his "America First" rhetoric and expectations that he would concentrate on a domestic agenda.

"I would like to know very clearly what are the true intentions of the new administration", Hishammuddin said.

Overall, Mattis' speech struck a positive, hopeful tone for cooperation and peace in the Asia-Pacific region, where he and his predecessors have made it a priority to nurture and strengthen alliances and partnerships.

"We are going to have to work together", Mattis said.

While he admitted that rivalry between China and the USA - the world's two largest economies - was bound to occur, he also said that did not mean conflict was inevitable.

Another senior military official from China said Mattis should also have mentioned agreements with Beijing, though the defense secretary later actually emphasized that the US would stand by the "One China" principle, reports said.

However, he cautioned that the United States can not accept Chinese activities that hurt the rules-based order that has benefited the region.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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