Washington, Nov 30: The United States warned the North Korean leadership that it would be “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out, after Pyongyang test-fired its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, putting the US mainland within range.
The Trump administration has repeatedly said all options were on the table in dealing with North Korea`s ballistic and nuclear weapons programme, including military ones, but that it still prefers a diplomatic option.
Still, speaking at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley warned:
“We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it. If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday … And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”
Haley said the United States has asked China to cut off oil supply to North Korea, a drastic step that Beijing – the North`s neighbour and sole major trading partner – has so far refrained from doing.
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping talked on the phone earlier on Wednesday.
“Just spoke to President Xi Jinping of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Previous U.S. administrations have failed to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and a sophisticated missile programme. Trump has also struggled to contain Pyongyang since he came to office in January.
Urging China to use its leverage on Pyongyang and promising more sanctions against North Korea are two strategies that have borne little fruit so far.
In a speech in Missouri about taxes, Trump, who has traded insults with the North in the past, referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a derisive nickname. “Little Rocket Man. He is a sick puppy,” Trump said.
The latest missile was fired a week after Trump put North Korea back on a U.S. list of countries it says support terrorism, allowing it to impose more sanctions.
United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman met with North Korea`s Ambassador Ja Song Nam to tell him Pyongyang must “desist from taking any further destabilizing steps” after the country launched another ballistic missile.
North Korea, which conducted its sixth and largest nuclear bomb test in September, has tested dozens of ballistic missiles under Kim`s leadership in defiance of international sanctions.
Pyongyang has said its weapons programmes are a necessary defence against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, denies any such intention. Russia`s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called on North Korea on Wednesday to stop its missile and nuclear tests and for the United States and South Korea not to hold military drills in December as it would “inflame an already explosive situation.”