North Korea begging for war, says Nikki Haley, while seeking new UN sanctions
New York: The US ambassador to the United Nations said North Korea was “begging for war” by testing a nuclear weapon over the weekend and demanded the strongest sanctions possible to bring the Kim Jong-Un regime to heel.
“Only the strongest sanctions will enable us to resolve this problem through diplomacy,” Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a meeting of the UN Security Council. She said the U.S. will circulate new draft sanctions measures and wants the council to vote on them Sept. 11.
South Korea, meanwhile, detected preparations by North Korea for a possible intercontinental ballistic missile launch, a move that would further exacerbate tensions a day after its sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation.
Chang Kyung-soo, acting chief of the Defense Ministry’s policy planning office, told lawmakers in Seoul on Monday that North Korea was readying a missile firing, but didn’t give a timeframe. The Yonhap news agency also cited South Korea’s spy agency as saying there is a chance North Korea could fire an ICBM into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea threatened last month to launch missiles toward Guam.
The warning came after South Korea removed the final administrative hurdle for the full deployment of a U.S. missile defense system, called Thaad or Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, which China sees as a threat to the region’s “strategic equilibrium.” The governments in Seoul and Washington were discussing deployment of a U.S. carrier group and strategic bombers, Yonhap said.
Haley reinforced U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat on Twitter to cut off trade with nations that trade with North Korea. The U.S. “will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country that gives aid to their reckless intentions,” she said.
South Korea Military Drill
South Korea’s military also conducted a live-fire drill, firing a surface-to-surface ballistic missile and air-to-ground rocket into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan, with North Korea’s nuclear test site as the virtual target, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message.
Stocks in Asia and Europe fell, along with S&P index futures, as investors turned to haven assets, sending the yen, gold and Treasury futures higher.
Countries that trade with North Korea include China, the U.S.’s biggest trading partner, which accounted for about a sixth of its overseas commerce.
China hit back at Trump’s threat to cut off trade, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying the comments were “neither objective nor fair.”
“What is definitely unacceptable to us is a situation in which on the one hand we work to resolve this issue peacefully but on the other hand our own interests are subject to sanctions and jeopardized,” Geng said at a regular briefing in Beijing, according to the Associated Press.
“China has leverage over North Korea, and we should be encouraging them to exercise that leverage,” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman, Alison Donnelly, told reporters in London on Monday. “Our overwhelming view is that diplomatic means are best” for resolving the crisis, she said.
Trump, who threatened over the weekend to pull out of the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement, also took aim at President Moon Jae-in’s administration. South Korea is finding that its “talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work,” he said on Twitter.
In response, Moon’s office said that war shouldn’t be repeated and that South Korea and its allies “will pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula through peace.”
Trump and Moon will speak by phone on Monday, a White House official said.
Moon took power in May pledging to seek peace talks with Kim’s regime. He initially opposed the early deployment of the Thaad missile defense system, though has shifted in recent months as North Korea advanced its push for an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike the U.S.
The disagreement between allies comes as Trump’s administration looks to convince China and Russia to support stronger sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. and other nations called for an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday in New York.
While Trump didn’t rule out an attack on North Korea when asked by a reporter on Sunday, the focus of his tweets and remarks by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were on tighter sanctions rather than military action. China and Russia oppose military force to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program.
In a call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump “reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to defending our homeland, territories, and allies using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal,” the White House said in a statement.
Abe also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Sunday, telling him that another strong UN resolution was needed.
Sunday’s test, North Korea’s first since Trump took office, was a “perfect success” and confirmed the precision and technology of the bomb, the Korean Central News Agency said. Energy from the underground explosion, near Punggye-ri in the northeast of the country, was about six times stronger than the last test a year ago, South Korea’s weather agency said.
Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said the international community needs to “come up with a very different game plan than just sanctions and bomber exercises.
“Right now, everything North Korea does appears to have to be bigger and scarier,” he said by email. “The signal they’re sending is the same as always: we don’t care what you say, we can do this and will continue to do so until you stop threatening us. And they seem to have the resources needed to do so despite sanctions.”
Leaders of the Group of Seven nations condemned North Korea’s nuclear test, labeling the act as a violation of international law, according to a statement from Japan’s Foreign Ministry. The leaders urged North Korea to immediately “abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”
The leaders “strongly call on the UN Security Council to meet its responsibilities and to work towards the adoption of a new and effective resolution that includes stronger measures,” according to the statement. Bloomberg
With assistance from Kanga Kong and Ryan Collins