US: Ready to use force in North Korea ‘if we must’

AL JAZEERA

US vows to defend itself and allies against North Korea’s missile threat if necessary, but prefers to use trade clout.

Nikki Haley directed her comments to the Russian delegation at UN Security Council [Mike Segar/Reuters]

The United States vowed to use military force to defend the country and its allies against North Korea if necessary but said it prefers to use its clout in international trade to address the growing threat.

In a hard-hitting speech at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council after Pyongyang’s successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Wednesday said that “the world has become a more dangerous place” and China has a key role in promoting peace.

China is responsible for 90 percent of trade with North Korea and Haley warned that Beijing risks its massive trade with the US if its business dealings with Pyongyang violate UN sanctions.

OPINION: Is war coming to North Korea?

She said the US does nott seek conflict – “in fact, we seek to avoid it.”

But she said the launch of an ICBM “is a clear and sharp military escalation” and the US is prepared to use its “considerable military forces” to defend itself and its allies “if we must”.

But Haley said the Trump administration prefers “not to go in that direction” but to use its “great capabilities in the area of trade” to address “those who threaten us and … those who supply the threats.”

Another resolution

Until recently, American officials had been describing China as a partner in their strategy to prevent North Korea from developing the ability to attack the US mainland with nuclear weapons.

But US President Donald Trump has expressed growing irritation at Beijing’s reluctance to tighten the screw on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programmes.

“There are countries that are allowing, even encouraging trade with North Korea, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Haley said.

“Such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United States,” she said.

“That’s not going to happen. Our attitude on trade changes when countries do not take international security threats seriously.”

Haley said the seven UN sanctions resolutions haven’t gotten North Korea to change its “destructive course”, and she stressed that much of the burden of enforcing the resolutions rests with China because of its overwhelming trade with its neighbour.

Declaring that it is time to do more, Haley announced that the US will put forward a new Security Council resolution in the coming days “that raises the international response in a way that is proportionate to North Korea’s escalation”.

She gave no details but said that if the council is united the international community can cut off major sources of hard currency to North Korea, restrict oil to their military and weapons programmes, increase aerial and maritime restrictions, and hold senior officials accountable.

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from the United Nations in New York, said that the Security Council has tried to curtail North Korea’s nuclear programme for nearly a decade.

“But it’s clear that after this latest missile launch, that continued pressure doesn’t seem to have deterred North Korea.”

“But the US also said if the council can not reach agreement, the US is prepared to go it’s own way … what that could entail nobody knows, but it certainly would raise the chances of an end to a diplomatic solution.”

The China-Russia proposal

China and Russia – whose presidents met in Moscow on Tuesday and will be attending the G20 summit with Trump in Hamburg, Germany, later this week where North Korea is certain to be a key issue – proposed a plan for defusing tensions on the Korean Peninsula that their ambassadors reiterated to the council.

The China-Russia plan includes a suspension-for-suspension – a North Korea moratorium on nuclear and missile tests while the US and South Korea refrain from large-scale military exercises – and a plan towards peace and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

“We call on all parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue and work actively together to defuse the tension,” said China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi.

READ MORE: North Korea threat boosts bomb shelter sales in Japan

“China is firmly opposed to chaos and confrontation on the peninsula. Military means must not be an option in this regard.”

Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov echoed the call for “restraint rather than provocation and war mongering”. He stressed that “any attempts to justify a military solution are inadmissible” and will lead “to unpredictable consequences for the region.”

“Attempts to economically strangle North Korea are equally unacceptable as millions of people are in great humanitarian need,” Safronkov said.

He also signalled that the US will likely have a tough time getting Security Council approval for a new sanctions resolution.

“All must acknowledge that sanctions will not resolve the issue,” Safronkov said. “In that manner, we simply rush towards a stalemate.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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This entry was posted in UN Security Council, US - South Korea relationship and tagged , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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