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North Korea nuclear crisis

US ready to use military force against North Korea if diplomacy fails, Trump’s UN ambassador says

US ambassador Nikki Haley seeks UN Security Council resolution aimed at halting all violations of sanctions against North Korea

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 3:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 8:51am

The US will use military force to stop North Korea from developing the capability to strike another country with a nuclear weapon if diplomatic solutions fail, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.

Haley’s delegation plans to introduce “in the coming days” a new UN Security Council resolution aimed at halting all violations of existing sanctions against North Korea. The ambassador also threatened that the US government will cut off trade with countries that continue to trade with the reclusive nation.

The trade threat appeared to be a jab at China, which US President Donald Trump has accused of undermining efforts aimed at subduing Pyongyang’s weapons programme by trading with the country.

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“There are countries that are allowing, even encouraging, trade with North Korea in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Haley said. “Such countries would also like to continue their trade with the United States. That’s not going to happen. Our attitude on trade changes when countries do not take international security threats seriously. “

Haley made the comments during an emergency meeting that she and her South Korean and Japanese counterparts Cho Tae-yul and Koro Bassho called in response to North Korea’s recent launch of what the US military determined was an intercontinental ballistic missile. Haley called the latest missile test “a new escalation of the threat”.

Shortly after the launch, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called it a “new escalation of the threat” to the US. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the launch “another brazen violation of UN Security Council resolutions” which “constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation”.

China’s UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who presided over Wednesday’s meeting in his capacity as Security Council president – a position that rotates monthly – didn’t acknowledge Haley’s trade threat. Instead, Liu backed Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov, who rejected Haley’s threat to use military force.

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Liu also called for the US to cancel joint military exercises with South Korea’s military and plans to deploy a missile defence system in South Korea.

While calling North Korea’s recent ICBM test launch “unacceptable” and “a flagrant violation”, Liu said the US missile defence system in South Korea “undermines the security interests of countries in the region, including China”.

Safronkov’s was the most forceful rejection of Haley’s proposals among the Security Council members.

“It’s utterly clear to us that any attempt to justify a military solution is inadmissible,” said Safronkov, who warned the council to “leave behind the dangerous logic of confrontation”.

In response, Haley challenged Russia to veto the new resolution she plans to put forward.

“If you are happy with North Korea’s actions, veto it,” said Haley, who urged Safronkov’s delegation to “vote with the international community”.

“If you choose not to, we will go our own path.”

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Throughout efforts by the US, South Korea and Japan to tighten Security Council sanctions and issue “secondary sanctions” or those that violate existing resolutions, North Korea has maintained that it is developing weapons in response to joint military exercises conducted by Washington and Seoul.

Last month, North Korea’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Kim In-ryong, said Guterres had not responded to requests to convene an “international forum of legal experts” to discuss the legal justification for UN sanctions implemented and tightened in recent years – most recently in November 2016.

Kim said his delegation had also sent several petitions to the UN Security Council seeking an emergency meeting to discuss the US-South Korea war games.