N. Korea pursuing nuclear weapons

The United States is encouraged by China’s efforts to restrain North Korea but Washington will not accept Beijing’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday.

The comments by Mattis, during the annual Shangri-La Dialogue forum, show how U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is looking to balance working with China to restrain North Korea’s advancing missile and nuclear programs while dealing with Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea.

Trump has actively courted support from Chinese President Xi Jinping to restrain North Korea, raising concern among Asian allies that Washington might allow China a more free rein elsewhere in the region.

Mattis said the threat from North Korea was “clear and present” and that Pyongyang had increased its pace of pursuing nuclear weapons. REUTERS

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