WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS - The United States said on Friday it had military options to deal with North Korea, signaling its patience for diplomacy is wearing thin after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean for the second time in under a month.
In the latest attempt to deal with an issue that has repeatedly frustrated world powers, the U.N. Security Council condemned the "highly provocative" missile launch by North Korea.
The council's 15 members had already stepped up sanctions against North Korea in response to a nuclear bomb test it staged on Sept. 3, imposing a ban on North Korea's textile exports and capping its imports of crude oil.
White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the United States was fast running out of patience for diplomatic solutions on North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
"We've been kicking the can down the road, and we're out of road," McMaster told reporters, referring to Pyongyang's repeated missile tests in defiance of international pressure.
"For those ... who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option," he said, adding that it would not be the Trump administration's preferred choice.
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley echoed McMaster's strong rhetoric, even as Washington continued to emphasize that its preferred resolution to the crisis is through diplomacy and sanctions.
"What we are seeing is, they are continuing to be provocative, they are continuing to be reckless and at that point there's not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here, when you've cut 90 percent of the trade and 30 percent of the oil," Haley said.
"So having said that, I have no problem kicking it to (Defense Secretary Jim) General Mattis because I think he has plenty of options," said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations.
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under leader Kim Jong Un as it accelerates a weapons program designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused North Korea of threatening the entire world.
"In East Asia, an increasingly aggressive and isolated regime in North Korea threatens democracies in South Korea, Japan, and more importantly, and more recently, has expanded those threats to the United States, endangering the entire world," Tillerson said in a speech to foreign officials.