Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

UNSC expands sanctions on North Korea


Earlier Saturday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called North Korea's push to acquire a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States and other nations a "clear and present danger".

"China has always worked to maintain, build and contribute to worldwide and regional peace and has firmly followed the path of peaceful development although it is faced with multiple security challenges", He said.

China's Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday that China is opposed to Pyongyang's missile launches and will support any new United Nations sanctions against the country. "We can not and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo", Mattis added.

When asked what the United States plans to do to prevent China's claims to the South China Sea, Mattis paraphrased a quote attributed to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a us -drafted resolution imposing new targeted sanctions on a handful of North Korean officials and entities, in response to a series of ballistic missile tests this year that are banned under U.N. resolutions.

China claims nearly the whole of this strategic maritime space where, during the past few years, it has built facilities on artificial islands that could be of military use, leading to mounting tension in the region.

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"Countries must also do more to break up North Korean smuggling rings, and cut off the sources of funding North Korea uses to pay for the development of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them", she said in a statement.

Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said that North Korea's ballistic missile defense system is a direct threat to the Russians and in the past few months, the repeated missile tests have alarmed the livelihood of all the Russian citizens.

After pleading for China's cooperation to address Pyongyang's threat, Mattis warned Beijing that the USA will not accept its militarization policy in the South China Sea, whose sovereignty is also partially claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously to add 15 individuals and four entities linked to North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes to a UN sanctions blacklist, but Chinese opposition blocked tougher new sanctions that the United States was pushing.

The US Navy on May 25 conducted a "freedom of navigation" operation in the South China Sea, when the USS Dewey guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

North Korea is accelerating its push to acquire a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the USA and other nations, and the U.S. regards this as a "clear and present danger", he said. China, on the other hand, is a growing power that has benefited from 70 years of peace in the Pacific, but disregarded the concerns of some other Pacific nations, the secretary said.

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China has repeatedly warned the United States against any military activities in the South China Sea.

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

"While competition between the USA and China, the world's two largest economies, is bound to occur, conflict is not inevitable", he said in his speech.

"Respecting freedom of navigation and adhering to global norms [are] essential for peace and economic growth in the inter-linked geography of the Indo-Pacific", Mattis said.

The comments came after weeks of the Trump administration seeking to stop North Korea from carrying out a success of tests with ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

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