N. Korea rejects new sanctions, to continue weapons program

America was happy at one time "between our two oceans" but realized after the war that it's "a crummy world if we all retreat inside our own borders", he said.

New Delhi rejected an Australian request to join its Malabar naval exercises next month with Japan and the United States for fear of antagonising China, which has warned against expanding the drills, navy officials and diplomats said.

"Once we have exhausted all possible alternatives, the Americans will do the right thing", Mattis added, paraphrasing a quotation by British wartime leader Winston Churchill. "And we will be with you".

According to the estimates based on the recent missile launches conducted by North Korea, a Pyongyang missile would take 10 minutes to reach the Japanese territory.

His sharp words for both countries suggest he believes China will, out of self-interest, exert leverage on North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile programs even as Washington pushes Beijing to change course in the South China Sea.

North Korea accuses China and the USA of "railroading and enforcing" the latest round of sanctions "after having drafted it in the backroom at their own pleasure".

On stage, the focus was on the need to protect the "rules-based worldwide order" from China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, and the rising threat from global terrorism.

Since Moon's May 10 inauguration, North Korea has test-fired three ballistic missiles in an apparent show of its resolve to expand its weapons arsenals to cope with what it calls US hostility.

South Korea is questioning four North Koreans rescued from waters off the east coast and will return them to the North if they want to go back, the South's unification ministry said on Monday.

Regional officials said they were anxious by Trump's unpredictability and concerned that his warm praise of Chinese President Xi Jinping after their first summit meeting in April would influence any decisions on Asia.

While China says nearly the entire South China Sea belongs to it, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also exercise claims in the area.

Beijing is involved in a simmering territorial row with Tokyo over the disputed Senkaku Islands, claimed by China as the Diaoyus.

China, which sent only a low-key delegation to the forum, said its ties with the United States were vital for the region.

Mattis used the Shangri-La Dialogue to reiterate his call for worldwide cooperation against violent Islamic extremist groups, such as the Islamic State, sometimes called ISIS, which he said are trying to gain ground in Southeast Asia.

Inaugurating the weekend Shangri-La Dialogue, the region's premier security forum, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: "In this courageous new world we can not rely on great powers to safeguard our interests".

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

Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told a news conference later that he believed Mattis had effectively stressed the US commitment to allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mattis relayed his appreciation for the broad range of U.S. -Malaysia security cooperation and encouraged Malaysia's valued contributions to regional security, the secretary's spokesman said.

In the wake of Trump's election, the United States has seen Southeast Asian allies including Thailand and the Philippines tilt towards China in a bid to draw much needed foreign investment to boost their economies.

  • Zachary Reyes