WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned North Korea on Monday that its ballistic missile firings and nuclear tests were inviting a US military response, one day after the president said he would gather US generals at the White House to discuss strike options against the rogue state.
At an emergency session of the UN Security Council called after Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, Haley said the North was “begging for war” with its actions, and repeated the administration’s refrain that an “era of strategic patience” on the peninsula had run out.
“Enough is enough,” said Haley. “War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We have taken an incremental approach, and despite the best intentions, it hasn’t worked,” she continued.
“We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no road left.”
Haley’s tough words followed a series of tweets from Trump on Sunday, who accused South Korea of a policy of “appeasement” toward its hostile neighbor.
“They only understand one thing,” Trump said of North Korea’s leadership, presumably referring to the use of force.
“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”
Haley said the Trump administration had concluded that only one viable diplomatic path remains: Harsh sanctions against the state, and secondary sanctions against any actor that aids and abets its government.
Tillerson: Trump's tough talk aims to send message to North Korea (Copyright Reuters)
That policy will apply to friend and foe: The White House cut aid last month to the Egyptian government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, admired by Trump, over its continued military dealings with North Korea.
“Mr. President, this is the second emergency Security Council meeting on nonproliferation and DPRK in less than a week, and the tenth time the Security Council has met to discuss the DPRK this year,” Jeffrey Feltman, US under-secretary- general for political affairs, told the Security Council on Monday.
“As was said in the Security Council meeting last week, as tensions rise, so does the risk of misunderstanding, miscalculation and escalation.”
“The latest serious developments require a comprehensive response,” he added.
Haley said the US will circulate a new Security Council resolution on North Korea this week and wants a vote on it next Monday.
China, a top trading partner with North Korea, and Russia called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
“China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula,” said Liu Jieyi, the Chinese ambassador to the UN.
Russia said peace in the region was in jeopardy.
“A comprehensive settlement to the nuclear and other issues plaguing the Korean peninsula can be arrived at solely through political diplomatic channels,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said.
North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
Typically, China and Russia only view a test of a long-range missile or a nuclear weapon as a trigger for further possible UN sanctions.
Trump had asked to be briefed on all available military options, according to his defense chief.
Officials said activity around missile launch sites suggested North Korea planned more missile tests.
South Korea’s air force and army conducted exercises involving long range air-to-surface and ballistic missiles on Monday following the North’s nuclear test on Sunday, its joint chiefs of staff said in a statement.
In addition to the drill, South Korea will cooperate with the US and seek to deploy “strategic assets like aircraft carriers and strategic bombers,” Jang said.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry also said it would deploy the four remaining launchers of a new US missile defense system after the completion of an environmental assessment by the government.
The rollout of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system at a site south of the South Korean capital, Seoul, which is vehemently opposed by neighboring China and Russia, had been delayed since June.
At the Security Council, neither Russia nor China mentioned their long-held opposition to THAAD or the prospect of further UN sanctions in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test.
North Korea said it tested an advanced hydrogen bomb for a longrange missile on Sunday, prompting a warning from US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis of a “massive” military response from the US if it or its allies were threatened.
Trump has previously vowed to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and said he would unleash “fire and fury” if it threatened US territory.Reuters contributed to this report.