17 November 2018
Donald Trump hosts a working lunch on Monday at the White House with ambassadors of countries on the UN Security Council. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump hosts a working lunch on Monday at the White House with ambassadors of countries on the UN Security Council. Photo: Reuters

Trump calls for new UN sanctions against N Korea

The UN Security Council must be prepared to impose new sanctions on North Korea, US President Donald Trump said on Monday, as concerns mount that Pyongyang may test a sixth nuclear bomb as early as Tuesday.

“The status quo in North Korea is unacceptable,” Trump told a meeting with the 15 UN Security Council ambassadors at the White House, Reuters reports.

“The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

North Korea is a “big world problem and it’s a problem that we have to finally solve,” Trump said. “People put blindfolds on for decades and now it’s time to solve the problem.”

US officials have told Reuters tougher sanctions could include an oil embargo, banning North Korea’s airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks and other foreign doing business with Pyongyang.

The State Department said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a special ministerial meeting of the Security Council on North Korea on Friday to discuss ways to maximize the impact of existing sanctions and show “resolve to respond to further provocations with appropriate new measures”.

Tillerson and US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will also hold a rare briefing on North Korea at the White House on Wednesday for the entire US Senate, according to the report.

The White House said Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the “urgent security challenge” posed by North Korea in a phone call on Monday.

In an earlier phone conversation with Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all sides to exercise restraint, as Japan conducted exercises with a US aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters.

Angered by the approach of the USS Carl Vinson carrier group, a defiant North Korea, which has carried out nuclear and missile tests in defiance of successive rounds of UN sanctions, said the deployment was “an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade”.

“The United States should not run amok and should consider carefully any catastrophic consequence from its foolish military provocative act,” Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a commentary.

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