Pentagon chief says NKorea's nuclear pursuits a 'danger'

Mattis also directed severe criticism at China's land reclamation and militarization activities in the South China Sea.

"No matter what others says, whatever sanctions and pressure may follow, we will not flinch from the road to build up nuclear forces which was chosen to defend the sovereignty of the country and the rights to national existence and will move forwards the final victory", the North Korean statement said.

"We can not accept Chinese actions that impinge on the interests of the global community", Mattis said.

Continued U.S. leadership in the region ensures "rules-based order" or freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the defense chiefs said.

Speaking at a security summit in Singapore, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada applauded America's presence in the region and its tough stance on North Korea.

Mattis said in Singapore on Friday that Washington stands with its Asia-Pacific partners and allies.

During his nomination hearing earlier this year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the USA was "going to have to send China a clear signal that first the island-building stops, and second your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed". -China relations but added the two countries must "cooperate for mutual benefit".

"We seek a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China".

He was, however, unrelentingly critical of North Korea, a politically and economically isolated nation whose leaders have long viewed the United States as a military threat, in part because of periodic USA military exercises with South Korea, which the North sees as preparations for attacks aimed at destroying its ruling elite.

North Korea also has test-fired at least nine ballistic missiles so far this year, most recently on Monday.

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In his speech, Mattis acknowledged the hard diplomacy involved in getting China to act against North Korea, a longtime trade partner that shares a border.

"The US would be well advised to urgently take measures to save the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans in the mainland rather than being concerned about the security of those in South Korea."

"We're working diplomatically, economically, we're trying to exhaust all possible alternatives to avert this race for a nuclear weapon in violation of. the United Nations' restrictions on North Korea's activities", he said.

"Sanctions are not a goal in itself but as long as DPRK doesn't stop its behavior, we'll have no other choice than reinforcing the pressure on the regime", Permanent Representative of France to the UN Francois Delattre told reporters Friday.

"Safronkov named the controversial American anti-missile THAAD system as destabilizing factor" in the region and called on the US and South Korea to reconsider recent military exercises.

China appreciates these remarks made by the US secretary of defense, he added. It is also is threatening a sixth nuclear test.

Also in May, Pyongyang announced that it had successfully tested the Pukguksong-2 intermediate range ballistic missile after a projectile was detected landing in worldwide waters off Japan's east coast.

China is always committed to resolving worldwide disputes through peaceful negotiations and opposed to resorting to force or threat of force, a senior Chinese military official said here on Saturday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has voiced support for the unanimous United Nations decision and called on North Korea to refrain from repeated nuclear tests and missile launches.

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