Russia won't veto UNSC's resolution on North Korea

The United States is encouraged by China's efforts to restrain North Korea but will not accept Beijing's militarization of islands in the South China Sea, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Saturday.

Russia's decision comes despite anger in the Kremlin after the US Treasury included Russian firms and a company director in fresh sanctions over North Korea. The Trump administration has looked to China to rein in North Korea, with which it has influence.

Beijing often rails against the United States, Japan and other countries for what it sees as interference in the South China Sea, insisting it is for claimant countries involved in disputes to work them out.

"The Trump administraion is encouraged by China's renewed commitment to work with the global community toward denuclearization", Mattis said. Analysts once felt that China wouldn't be willing to impose sanctions on North Korea as their main priority was to make sure that their own border was protected.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea".

He outlined the strengthening of U.S. alliances and strategic partnerships throughout the region, the boosting of the military capacities of its allies and partners, and, above all, the Pentagon's own military build-up.

"The government will respond strongly to any North Korean provocations, but at the same time, we are flexibly reviewing ways to allow humanitarian and civilian exchanges without compromising worldwide sanctions", a South Korean ministry official said Monday.

The UN Security Council resolutions are explicit about the DPRK's use of ballistic missile technologies, the spokesperson said, adding that the Security Council press statement recently expressed opposition to the missile launch. He urged Beijing "to build trust and cooperation", saying there was "no better or more urgent opportunity" than to "use its great leverage" to "curb the unlawful, reckless and unsafe conduct of North Korea".

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to add 15 individuals and four entities linked to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs to a U.N. sanctions blacklist, but Chinese opposition blocked tough new sanctions the United States was pushing.

The US announced the punitive unilateral measures Thursday on several North Korean entities and officials as well as two Russian companies trading with Pyongyang in a bid to pressure the isolated regime over its nuclear weapons push.

Strongly condemning the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development activities of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United Nations Security Council today chose to apply existing sanctions to 14 individuals and four entities.

It was the first live-fire test against an ICBM-class target for the US ballistic missile defense system.

Economic sanctions, which would need to be backed and enforced by China, don't seem to be the answer, the analysts say.

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.

Any new names added to the United Nations blacklist would be subjected to a global asset freeze and travel ban.

"There is a lot more between (China) and the United States than just two issues".

He said while competition between the USA and China was bound to occur, "conflict is not inevitable".

The Trump administration is aiming for continuity in Asia policy, sticking broadly with the approach its predecessors have taken by emphasizing diplomacy and cooperation with allies, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis indicated Friday.

  • Leroy Wright