The United States said on Wednesday that it is ready to use force if necessary to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile program, although it continues to seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.
Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, told a meeting of the UN Security Council that Pyongyang’s actions were “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution” and that Washington is prepared to defend itself and its allies, Reuters reports.
“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction,” Haley said.
She urged China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to rein in Pyongyang.
The comments came after North Korea on Tuesday test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach the US states of Alaska and Hawaii.
North Korea says the missile could carry a large nuclear warhead.
The missile test is a direct challenge to US President Donald Trump, who has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile.
Haley said that Washington will propose new UN sanctions on North Korea in coming days and warned that the US is prepared to cut off trade with countries doing business with Pyongyang in violation of UN resolutions.
“Much of the burden of enforcing UN sanctions rests with China,” Haley said. “We will work with China, we will work with any and every country that believes in peace. But we will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that have brought us to this dark day.”
China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, told the Security Council meeting that the missile launch was a “flagrant violation” of UN resolutions and “unacceptable.”
“We call on all the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue and work actively together to defuse the tension,” Liu said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the ICBM test completed his country’s strategic weapons capability that includes atomic and hydrogen bombs, the state KCNA news agency said.
Pyongyang will not negotiate with the US to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its hostile policy against the North, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
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