Pentagon chief turns up heat on North Korea and China

Mattis North Korea a ‘clear and present danger’ to world

The UN Security Council's resolutions ban any activity of North Korea linked to developing nuclear weapons and means of its delivery, but Pyongyang does not recognize these documents, stressing that the country has the right to enhance its defence capacity amid Washington's hostile policy.

At the same time, the United States has been negotiating with China - North Korea's ally - to put more pressure on the secretive regime.

President Donald Trump - who frequently denounced China on the campaign trail - has turned to Beijing to help rein in North Korea's weapons programme, prompting concerns among Asian allies that America might go easy on the South China Sea issue. It has also been making efforts to upgrade its weapon systems, and has recently developed a long-range missile capable of striking the United States mainland.

"The security council is sending a clear message to North Korea today - stop firing ballistic missiles or face the consequences", Haley said after the vote.

The new asset and travel freeze by this resolution target senior officials and its core military apparatus that are directly responsible for the regime's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Cho Tae-Yul, South Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, told the council on Friday.

The United States has said it is willing to talk to North Korea if it halts its missile and nuclear tests.

One diplomat said all five permanent veto-wielding members - the U.S., China, Russia, Britain and France - had agreed to the proposed additions.

The new round of sanctions targets the DPRK's military, technology, coal, and financial channels, and will prohibit the targeted companies and individuals from engaging in business transactions with USA citizens, and will also freeze any assets held in the U.S.

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He said the country needed "cooperation, not unilateral actions to seize or create territory or militarise disputed areas". He suggested the existing agreement was about other countries gaining an advantage over the United States.

By contrast, China's U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi stressed that the resolution reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia and expressed the council's commitment to a peaceful diplomatic and political solution, and to the importance of reducing tensions.

On April 28, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the U.N. Security Council that it needed to act soon. Pyongyang has vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the USA mainland.

And security expert Michael Elleman has said Pyongyang could field a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile by 2020. Those measures aimed to cut North Korea's annual export revenue by a quarter.

"Together we, the worldwide community, must be steadfast when enforcing these new sanctions, as well as previous measures by this council".

China appears to have changed their mind about the threat that North Korea poses to the rest of the world, especially as they have been conducting missile tests weekly with no break.

"I think the Chinese would like us to think it is quiet, but actually all the time they are continuing their construction efforts there".

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought Saturday to reassure jittery allies in the Pacific about President Trump's nationalist agenda while also delivering a speech that cast North Korea as an "urgent military threat" and called China out for its military actions in the South China Sea.