The US on Wednesday warned of using military force in response to North Korea’s “reckless” launch of a ballistic missile and blasted China and Russia for “holding the hands” of the reclusive nation’s “vicious dictator” Kim Jong Un. “It is a dark day because yesterday’s actions by North Korea made the world a more dangerous place. Their illegal missile launch was not only dangerous, but reckless and irresponsible. It showed that North Korea does not want to be part of a peaceful world,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said at an emergency Security Council meeting here yesterday following the launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea.
The device, launched on Tuesday, was capable of reaching Alaska, and the Korean Central News Agency quoted leader Kim Jong-Un as saying the confrontation with the US had entered the “final stage”.
Indian-American Haley warned that the US “is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities” to defend itself and its allies. “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. We have other methods of addressing those who threaten us and of addressing those who supply the threats. We have great capabilities in the area of trade,” she said, adding that she had spoken with President Donald Trump about the issue.
Calling out on China, Haley said much of the burden of enforcing UN sanctions against North Korea rests with Beijing as 90 per cent of trade with North Korea is from China.
While she said the US will work with China, at the same time she warned that some countries are allowing and “even encouraging” trade with North Korea in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. “Such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United States. That’s not going to happen. Our attitude on trade changes when countries do not take international security threats seriously,” she said.
Haley also blasted China and Russia for not joining hands with the international community in their efforts to combat the North Korean threat, saying the regime of Kim Jong Un has not and will not listen to anything Beijing and Moscow will say. “And so it’s time that we all stand together and say we will not put up with this action. To sit there and oppose sanctions, or to sit there and go in defiance of a new resolution means you’re holding the hands of Kim Jong Un,” she added.
Haley also warned that in the coming days, the US will bring before the Security Council a resolution that raises the international response in a way that is “proportionate” to North Korea’s “new escalation”.
Without giving details of the resolution, Haley said if the international community is unified, it can cut off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime. “We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons programmes. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable,” she said, warning that the US will take action not just against North Korea but “will look at any country that chooses to do business with this outlaw regime. We will not have patience for stalling or talking our way down to a watered-down resolution”.
Briefing the emergency meeting of the Security Council convened following the launch by North Korea of a ballistic missile of intercontinental range, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca said that the country must stop any actions that are a violation of Security Council resolutions and allow space for the resumption of sincere dialogue. “All parties must work to reopen communications channels, particularly military to military, to lower the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding,” he said.
The Hwasong-14 ballistic missile covered a distance of 933 kilometres during its 39-minute flight and reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometres before impacting into the sea.
According to these parameters the missile would have a range of roughly 6,700 kilometres if launched on a more typical trajectory, making it an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to widely used definitions, he said.
As Haley warned that North Korea’s actions “are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution”, Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said Moscow objected to any action that could lead to a hardening of antagonisms and opposed imposition of sanctions on the country.
He pressed Pyongyang to declare a moratorium on nuclear and ballistic-missile testing, and the United States and South Korea to refrain from conducting full joint military exercises adding that discussions could reaffirm the principles of non-use of force, peaceful coexistence and denuclearization of the Peninsula.
He said Moscow also objected to the presence of some military forces in North-East Asia under the pretext of countering Pyongyang’s military programmes.
Calling for measures that would strike a strategic balance in the region, he warned that any attempt to justify a military solution were be “inadmissible”, as were attempts to strangle the North Korea economically.
Humanitarian efforts must be depoliticised, he added, underlining that sanctions would not resolve the issues.
China’s envoy to the UN Liu Jieyi, Council President for the month, described the launch as a flagrant and unacceptable violation of Council resolutions but called upon all concerned to avoid provocative actions, demonstrate willingness to enter into unconditional dialogue, and work together to defuse tensions.
He said China had always insisted on denuclearisation through dialogue and consultation, adding that his country opposed chaos and that military means must not be an option.
Deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence antimissile system in North-East Asia undermined regional security interests, including those of China, and was not conducive to regional peace and stability, he emphasised, urging the countries concerned to cancel its deployment.