North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch is dangerous and requires an escalated diplomatic response, US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council. The US is preparing a new resolution that will likely target China’s trade with Pyongyang.
The launch was “not only dangerous but reckless and irresponsible” and “cast a dark shadow of conflict on all nations that strive for peace,” Haley told the emergency session of the Security Council, convened on Wednesday afternoon.
Washington does not seek conflict, Haley said, but “only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
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While the US is “prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies,” Washington prefers to use trade as leverage, according to Haley.
“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,” she said.
“We will look at any country that chooses to do business with this outlaw regime,” Haley said, singling out China as North Korea’s primary trading partner.
“We will work with China,” she said, “but we will not repeat the inadequate approaches from the past.”
As an example of North Korea’s depravity, Haley brought up the case of Otto Warmbier, the US student sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly stealing a poster at his Pyongyang hotel in 2015.
The comatose Warmbier was returned to the US in early July, and died of severe neurological damage within days. Warmbier’s family accused the North Koreans of torturing him, but refused to allow an autopsy.
While the envoys of the UK and France echoed Haley’s sentiments, the ambassador of Sweden said that the crisis on the Korean peninsula does not have a military solution, and warned that the potential for mistakes and misunderstandings was high.
Condemning the North Korean launch, Egypt’s ambassador also noted “some of the positive proposals by China to achieve a gradual detente.”
After Russian and Chinese envoys said the threat of military action should be considered unacceptable, Haley said the US would “go its own path” if necessary.
“If you are happy with North Korea’s actions, if you want to be a friend of North Korea, then veto any new sanctions,” Haley said, according to Reuters.
On Tuesday, North Korea tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile it called Hwasong-14. The Pentagon said the missile was of a previously unknown type and was fired from a mobile launcher.
Pyongyang is saying its nuclear and missile programs are non-negotiable, “unless the US hostile policy and nuclear threat to the DPRK are definitely terminated,” according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).