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U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis's visit to South Korea and Japan marks the first foreign trip by any senior official from U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

North Korea, which frequently vows to destroy both South Korea and the US, conducted more than 20 missile tests in 2016, as well as five nuclear tests over the last decade, defying United Nations sanctions against them. He added that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with a overwhelming response.

In December 2016, the UN had imposed its toughest sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to deter the defiant nation from conducting nuclear missile tests.

During a meeting with South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn and national security adviser Kim Kwan-Jin, Mattis underscored the Trump administration's commitment to the Asia-Pacific and strengthening the alliance between the USA and South Korea.

North Korea, which regularly threatens to destroy South Korea and its main ally, the United States, conducted more than 20 missile tests past year, as well as two nuclear tests, in defiance of U.N. resolutions and sanctions. He will travel to Japan later Friday.

The US and South Korea yesterday reconfirmed their commitment to the planned deployment this year of a US missile defence system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad). "We stand firmly, 100 percent shoulder to shoulder with you and the Japanese people".

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Following Mattis visit to South Korea, conservative politicians here are expected to exploit the fake mythology by stressing the importance of military alliance with the US and demonizing the DPRK.

The visit comes amid increasing threats from North Korea that it is ready to test-fire a new intercontinental ballistic missile at any time.

Mattis emphasized once again during his visit to Seoul that THAAD is exclusively created to protect South Korea from North Korean ballistic missiles, but Beijing is unlikely to be mollified.

"These South Korea-U.S. defense talks show that our resolve to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threats is unwavering and it serves as a strong warning to Pyongyang.".

Russian Federation has not been as vocal as China in its opposition to the missile defense system, which Beijing claims is being used for monitoring purposes.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said its government-funded Confucius Institutes in South Korea were set up at the request of South Korean universities, and called on Seoul to ensure the correct visa procedures were followed for their staff.