North Korea poses a “grave threat” to the world, the White House said on Thursday, exhorting countries to apply maximum pressure on Pyongyang after it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“The North Korean threat is very grave. It’s not just a threat to the United States or a threat to the region — or the Korean Peninsula region, but a threat to the entire world and the civilised world,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters. “We’re encouraged that more countries are taking more significant steps to help apply as much pressure as we can on North Korea,” Shah said in response to a question.
He, however, parried questions on Trump’s tweet about more sanctions against North Korea. “I’m not going to get ahead of any announcement that’s coming. I will say, though, that the maximum pressure campaign that the US has been a big part of has really yielded a lot of results,” he said.
“We have seen the toughest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea that the Chinese and Russians have signed onto. We’ve seen China restrict energy shipments to North Korea. We’re seeing dozens of countries engage in different efforts in their bilateral ties with North Korea to cut off both energy, economic ties, and diplomatic ties,” Shah said.
“So we’re seeing more and more steps take place. We’ll see future actions by the United States and others, and we’re looking forward to applying as much pressure as we can to get to our ultimate goal, which is a denuclearised Korean Peninsula,” he told reporters.
The ICBM, launched yesterday from Sain Ni, North Korea , travelled about 1000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). “We will take care of it. .. It is a situation we will handle,” Trump told reporters soon after North Korea’s missile test.
Trump also spoke with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts Xi Jinping, and Moon Jae-in respectively, and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer said in a statement that the launch of a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear payload across thousands of miles – far enough to threaten cities in the continental United States – violates international laws and demands a strong international response. “The President’s lack of a policy to deter North Korean aggression is deeply concerning, and it is clear that the President’s soft approach with the Chinese leadership has not borne fruit. I urge him to pursue a diplomatic strategy that places serious pressure on the Kim (Jong-Un) regime to change its behaviour,” he said.