The UN Security Council must be prepared to impose new sanctions on North Korea amid escalating tensions over its missile and nuclear programs, US President Donald Trump said on Monday ahead of a lunch with ambassadors from countries on the UN council.Trump, speaking to reporters, said the council also failed to act in response to a recent Syrian chemical weapons attack, which he called a "great disappointment.""The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs," Trump said."This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it's a problem that we have to finally solve," he said.Trump's firm statement concerning North Korea's alarming nuclear activity further strengthens the message top officials in his administration have been relaying in the past month in reaction to North Korea's defiant progress with its nuclear program. On April 17, Vice President Mike Pence paid an official visit to demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the highly-fortified border between the two Koreas. Pence then said that in dealing with the ever pressing need to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, "all options are on the table," alluding to the the possibility of the US reacting assertively should North Korea not scale back its activity. A day prior to Pence's visit, North Korea attempted to carry out a missile test and failed, with the missile exploding upon launch according to South Korea and the US. CNN has sited US officials as saying that the missile in question did not have intercontinental capabilities.Pyongyang's increased military action as well as it nuclear armament and recent series of nuclear experiments have played a significant role in bringing Pence to the region. While standing along the DMZ, Pence had described the border as a "frontier of freedom" and also said that the US "has always sought peace through strength and my message here today... standing with the courageous soldiers from the Republic of Korea is a message of resolve."
Pence's words echoed those of US National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, who on April 16 said that when it came to the North Korean nuclear program, "all of our options are on the table, undergoing refinement and further development." McMaster also noted that while the US hoped not to be forced to exercise its military capabilities in the region, he believed the "problem is coming to a head" and that the US is currently working on options for a variety of courses of action for US President Donald Trump to choose from should "this pattern of destabilizing behavior" continue.Stressing the US's lack of tolerance for North Korea's nuclear activity, Pence also said during his visit that the US "era of strategic patience" was over.
An "unchecked Iran" could follow same path as North Korea: Tillerson (credit: REUTERS)