UN Security Council votes to expand North Korean sanctions after missile tests

While Beijing has previously called on North Korea to stop their nuclear program and missile tests, they have also not approved of the United States conducting military exercises around the Korean Peninsula.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Tuesday that she believed Washington and Beijing could reach a deal on new sanctions by week's end.

Mattis made it clear that the US will place a top priority on resolving the North Korea issue on the basis of robust alliances with South Korea, Japan and Australia as well as cooperation with China.

President Donald Trump's announcement this week that the USA would exit the Paris climate change agreement, along with other campaign trail and policy follow-throughs, are not only raising concerns about the environment and free trade agreements, but also spilling over into the security arena as well.

"The Trump administration is encouraged by China's renewed commitment to work with the global community toward denuclearization", Mattis said, as cited by Reuters.

A ballistic rocket is test-fired through a precision control guidance system in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) May 30, 2017.

North Korea is also likely to get its fair share of attention during the meetings a topic Trump has made a key focus.

Mattis outlined the Trump administration's approach in remarks to reporters travelling with him to Singapore, where he will deliver a policy speech at an worldwide security conference Saturday and meet with several Asian counterparts.

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.

South Korea started deploying the US -made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in March and Japan is considering purchasing its own missile shield.

"Clearly it is lower profile, but that doesn't mean that the South China Sea is quiet this year", Huxley said.

Mr Trump - who frequently denounced China on the campaign trail - has turned to Beijing to help rein in North Korea's weapons programme.

The Security Council has already imposed six rounds of sanctions on North Korea, and the USA and its allies have pushed for tougher measures in response to a wave of missile tests by Pyongyang. The Pentagon's role, he said, is to reinforce alliances, strengthen US military capabilities to deter war in Asia, and help enable countries to sustain their own security.

The United Nations Security Council voted on Friday to sharpen sanctions against North Korea after a series of missile launches in recent weeks.

"There's concern over China's rise and it's assertive behaviour, particularly in maritime space", said David Helvey, a top Pentagon advisor for Asian and Pacific security affairs.

American officials have indicated that military intervention in North Korea is an option on the table.

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 United States. This is essentially the USA, with our many allies backing us, against one lonely, small, and impoverished Communism-ridden country.

And that is fine, Mattis said, because competition between the United States and China is bound to occur.

The defense chief said the Congress had brought forth an initiative to expand investment in the Department of Defense, "strengthening the rules-based order to better position us to support regional stability in a changing region".

The value of the strong alliances among the United States, Japan and South Korea is enjoyed by all countries in the region, the secretary said.

  • Zachary Reyes