Mattis warns of real NKorea threat, sends mixed message to China

US Defense Secretary James Mattis said the Trump administration is encouraged by China’s renewed commitment to pressure North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program, but will not accept Beijing’s military buildup in the South China Sea. Speaking Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit in Singapore, Mattis said: “We oppose countries militarizing artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law. We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo,” he said, but added: “While competition between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, is bound to occur, conflict is not inevitable. We can and do cooperate for mutual benefit.” 

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