Russia says North Korea nukes are a 'direct threat'

  • Russia says North Korea nukes are a 'direct threat'

Russia says North Korea nukes are a 'direct threat'

A North Korean ballistic missile takes 10 minutes to reach Japanese territory.

In an apparent reference to China, he also opposed countries militarising artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims unsupported by worldwide law.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the (Spratly) Islands and their adjacent waters", Hua said, referring to reefs and islets in the South China Sea where Beijing has built installations that could be used by its military.

Hua said countries around the South China Sea had tried to lower tensions, but others outside the region "have been bent on going against the trend, making repeated erroneous remarks, ignoring the facts and confusing black from white with entirely ulterior motives".

He told the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that the construction and militarisation of artificial islands in the South China Sea undermined regional stability.

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.

"They must recognise that, with a role as a growing economic and trading power comes security responsibilities as well".

"All states involved in territorial disagreements in the South China Sea need to adhere to the principle of the non-use of force", he said.

Mr Tillerson reiterated the US' commitment to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea to "ensure unimpeded flow of lawful commerce in a rules-based order". "That's why we engaged with our counterparts", adding, "So I hope the fact that we're here demonstrates that it certainly is not this administration's view or intention to somehow put at arm's length the important partners and allies in the world". But it differs from the USA and its allies on how to rein in the North's rapidly escalating nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

The UN Security Council first imposed sanctions on Pyongyang in 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear tests and two long-range missile launches.

Mr Tillerson added that Australia and the United States "speak with one voice in calling for North Korea to abandon its illegal nuclear weapons programme".

Mattis said seeking China's cooperation on North Korea did not mean Washington would not challenge Beijing's activities in the South China Sea.