Monday 24 July 2017

US prepared to use force on N Korea 'if we must'

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley directs comments to the Russian delegation at the Security Council meeting to discuss North Korea. Photo: Reuters
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley directs comments to the Russian delegation at the Security Council meeting to discuss North Korea. Photo: Reuters

Barney Henderson

The United States has warned it is prepared to use its "considerable military forces" on North Korea "if we must".

The warning came at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council following Tuesday's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test by the rogue state. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said that North Korea's actions were "quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution".

"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," she said.

The United States would propose new UN sanctions on North Korea "in the coming days", Ms Haley added, warning that Washington was prepared to cut off trade with countries trading with North Korea in violation of UN resolutions.

She warned that if Russia and China did not support the move, then "we will go our own path".

Russia criticised the test but said the option of considering military measures "should be excluded", while China's UN ambassador Liu Jieyi told the Security Council meeting that the missile launch was a "flagrant violation" of UN resolutions and "unacceptable", but did not address new sanctions.

"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," said Mr Liu.

Donald Trump had earlier criticised China for not doing more to address the growing threat from North Korea. In a tweet on Wednesday, the US president questioned why the US should continue what he sees as bad trade deals "with countries that do not help us".

"Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40pc in the first quarter. So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!" he wrote.

In all, six sets of sanctions have been imposed on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006, to deny leader Kim Jong-un the hard currency needed to fund his military programmes.

Frank Aum, a former adviser on North Korea at the US defence department, told the AFP news agency more sanctions were seen by the US administration as its only realistic option.

"They don't really believe in negotiations at this point. They feel like they need to apply greater financial pressure," said Mr Aum.

The current crisis is expected to dominate Mr Trump's second foreign trip. He arrived in Poland on Wednesday evening en route to the G20 meeting in Germany. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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