Japan holds evacuation drill amid tension from N,Korea

"This includes the nature of its militarization".

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

Among the main topics on the agenda, was the rising anxiety over China's increasing power and the militarisation of islands within the vital trading route of the South China Sea.

He urged regional nations to seek solutions through mediation.

In a sign of the US commitment to the region, Mattis said that soon about 60 per cent of overseas tactical aviation assets would be assigned to the region and he would work with the US Congress on an Asia-Pacific stability initiative.

The drill in the town of Abu, about 800 kilometres (500 miles) west of Tokyo facing the Sea of Japan, simulated a ballistic missile attack in the surrounding mountains in Yamaguchi prefecture which hosts a major US Marine Corps air station, a disaster agency official said.

China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Beijing has built up and militarised numerous islands and reefs it controls in the region.

President Donald Trump and other senior U.S. officials have repeatedly stated that they would protect its interests in the South China Sea - a key shipping route. In a question-and-answer session with his audience of national security experts from across the globe, he was asked whether the US might attack the North pre-emptively and without warning South Korea in advance.

"It is therefore imperative that we do our part, each of us, to fulfill our obligations and work together to support our shared goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula", Mattis said at the same summit.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and her South Korean counterpart, Han Min Koo, agreed Saturday that their countries will continue to promptly share information on North Korea.

The DPRK condemned the United States again on Saturday over the US' launching of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) interception test, according to Xinhua.

North Korea on Sunday slammed the latest round of United Nations sanctions as "mean" and vowed to press ahead with its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

"The regime's actions are manifestly illegal under global law", Mattis said.

The Trump administration has been pressing China aggressively to rein in its reclusive neighbor, warning that all options are on the table if Pyongyang persists with its nuclear and missile development programs.

The U.S. has about 28,500 troops permanently based in South Korea, a defense treaty ally. Mattis " did as good a job as could be expected by saying all of the right things on commitment, alliances and capabilities", Euan Graham, director of Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy's International Security Program, told Defense News.

On Friday, the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 2356 to punish the North's series of ballistic missiles launches with strengthened sanctions.

  • Zachary Reyes