United States warns Beijing of South China Sea Islands

The danger of North Korea, anxiety of a coercive China and the threat of terrorism dominated talks between Australia and other regional countries at a security summit in Singapore over the past two days.

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

China blocked tough new sanctions against North Korea that the United States pushed in the U.N. Security Council on Friday.

In his speech, Mattis made no mention of President Donald Trump's decision to pull the USA out of the Paris climate change agreement, a move that infuriated allies far and wide.

"For me, the troubling thing is I don't know what the strategic plan of the USA is", Cohen added.

"The defense industrial complex loves to get the advertisement that the tax-payers' money is being well spent", he said, adding, "The amount of money that is involved in these long-range missile programs, the testing, by the way, this missile defense shield is pretty much a joke".

"The adventurism of Pyongyang is not something that should provide us with a pretext for the increase of military activity in the region, much less for the implementation of plans of using force", he said.

Then he paraphrased an old quote often attributed to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

"Once we've exhausted all possible alternatives, the Americans will do the right thing". "So, we will still be there. We will be there with you".

Mattis has sought to keep a low profile on his trip, declining to do customary interviews with reporters traveling with him on his plane.

For weeks, the United States has been negotiating with China on new measures to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea but Beijing has insisted on the need to open up dialogue.

Speaking at the end of her and Mr Turnbull's visit to Singapore, Ms Payne said on Saturday night that the concern about North Korea and the issue returning foreign fighters were the two biggest causes of concern raised with her.

While Trump has said that he is confident that Chinese President Xi Jinping will "try very hard" pressure Pyongyang, a Chinese trade partner, Mattis made it sound it less certain that will happen.

He reiterated China's "dual-track" proposal, which would see North Korea suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for a suspension of massive military exercises by the United States and South Korea.

Intended as a United States security guarantee to the island, the act requires the U.S. to come to Taiwan's defence if the island comes under military threat from the mainland.

He has maintained that India supports freedom of navigation and seeks "utmost respect" for worldwide law, amid China's muscle flexing in the region.

Although the previous US administration of Barack Obama insisted it was neutral, it spoke out strongly against the island-building and sought to build ties with, and among, the South East Asian nations whose claims overlap those of China.

"Artificial island construction and indisputable militarization of facilities on features in global waters undermine regional stability", Mattis said, calling China out over its "disregard for worldwide law" and "contempt for other nations' interests".

Although President Donald Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate change agreement has "heavy consequences", Goulard said that there was "no reason to have doubts" over its regional leadership role.

  • Leroy Wright