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No N Korea relief until verifiable denuclearisation steps: Mattis

Trump vague on how they will ensure North Korea’s security

All UN Security Council resolutions on the regime must stay in place, he said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been acting as a go-between in diplomatic efforts for the potential holding of the summit between the US and North Korea - also long-time foes.

"In this moment, we are steadfastly committed to strengthening even further our defense cooperation as the best means for preserving the peace", he added.

Mattis made the comment on the sidelines of a security conference in Singapore on Sunday, stressing that it was vital for the worldwide community to uphold the United Nations-imposed sanctions regime against North Korea until the country ended its nuclear activities.

The Rodong Sinmun called Rimpac "a product of the Cold War era" that serves the objective of forming a blockade around a sovereign state such as North Korea.

The meeting came as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump plan to hold a summit here on June 12.

Trump didn't say what he hopes to get out of the summit, nor did he talk about what the USA was prepared to give up, aside from musing about the possibility of a declaration ending the Korean War for good.

When asked if Singapore will bear any cost in providing security and logistics arrangements in hosting the summit, Dr Ng said: "Obviously yes, but it is a cost that we are willing to bear to play a small part in this historic meeting". In his remarks, Mattis said the only way North Korea will get relief from global sanctions is if it takes verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearize.

On Saturday, Japan's defence minister urged the global community to keep sanctions and surveillance on North Korea, saying: "In light of how North Korea has behaved in the past, I believe it is important not to reward North Korea exclusively for agreeing to have dialogue".

Pyongyang will have to demonstrate clear steps towards denuclearization before any sanctions are eased, US Defense Secretary James Mattis has warned, ahead of highly anticipated US-North Korean leaders' talks, RT reports.

On Sunday, the North's official daily Minju Joson slammed the South Korean military for joining the two military drills with the United States, which it said ran against the spirit of the Panmunjom Declaration.

The country's foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its official WeChat account that it viewed the meeting between the United States and North Korean leaders as key to achieving denuclearisation and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.