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US defence secretary James Mattis warns China against militarisation in South China Sea

Singapore: US defence secretary James Mattis on Saturday urged China to act against North Korea's nuclear programme and warned that Washington will not accept Beijing's militarisation in the disputed South China Sea.

File image of defense secretary James Mattis. AP

File image of defense secretary James Mattis. AP

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's annual defence summit in Singaore, Mattis called North Korea's nuclear programme and ballistic missile tests as the "most urgent threat" to peace and stability, Efe news reported.

According to Mattis, President Donald Trump's administration considers China's commitment to the shared goal of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula encouraging, but urged Beijing to act.

"It is therefore imperative that we do our part each of us to fulfil our obligations and work together to support our shared goal of denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

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

"We oppose countries militarising artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law. We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo," Mattis added.

Updated Date: Jun 03, 2017 13:03 PM

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