U.S. prepared to use force on North Korea ‘if we must’: U.N. envoy

People watch a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea's ballistic missile test, at a railway station in Seoul
People watch a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea's ballistic missile test, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

July 6, 2017

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States cautioned on Wednesday it was ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile program but said it preferred global diplomatic action against Pyongyang for defying world powers by test launching a ballistic missile that could hit Alaska.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that North Korea’s actions were “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution” and the United States was prepared 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,” Haley said. She urged China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

Speaking with his Japanese counterpart on Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis underscored the “ironclad commitment” of the United States to defending Japan and providing “extended deterrence using the full range of U.S. capabilities,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.

Mattis’ assurances to Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada came during a phone call to discuss the North Korean test, the statement said.

Taking a major step in its missile program, North Korea on Tuesday test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

North Korea says the missile could carry a large nuclear warhead.

The missile test is a direct challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile.

He has frequently urged China to press the isolated country’s leadership to give up its nuclear program.

Haley said the United States would propose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea in coming days and warned that

if Russia and China did not support the move, then “we will go our own path.”

    She did not give details on what sanctions would be proposed, but outlined possible options.

“The international community 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 programs. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable,” Haley said.

Diplomats say Beijing has not been fully enforcing existing international sanctions on its neighbor and has resisted tougher measures, such as an oil embargo, bans on the North Korean airline and guest workers, and measures against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with the North.

“Much of the burden of enforcing U.N. sanctions rests with China,” Haley said.

The United States might seek to take unilateral action and sanction more Chinese companies that do business with North Korea, especially banks, U.S. officials have said.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, told the Security Council meeting that the missile launch was a “flagrant violation” of U.N. resolutions and “unacceptable.”

“We call on all the 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,” Liu said.

TENSIONS WITH U.S.

The United States has remained technically at war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and the past six decades have been punctuated by periodic rises in antagonism and rhetoric that have always stopped short of a resumption of active hostilities.

Tensions have risen sharply after North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests last year and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the ICBM test completed his country’s strategic weapons capability that includes atomic and hydrogen bombs, the state KCNA news agency said.

Pyongyang will not negotiate with the United States to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its hostile policy against the North, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

“He, with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the U.S. would be displeased … as it was given a ‘package of gifts’ on its ‘Independence Day,'” KCNA said, referring to the missile launch on July 4.

Trump and other leaders from the Group of 20 nations meeting in Germany this week are due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea’s weapons program, which it has pursued in defiance of Security Council sanctions.

Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy said on Wednesday that military force should not be considered against North Korea and called for a halt to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

He also said that attempts to strangle North Korea economically were “unacceptable” and that sanctions would not resolve the issue.

The U.S. military assured Americans that it was capable of defending the United States against a North Korean ICBM.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis noted a successful test last month in which a U.S.-based missile interceptor knocked down a simulated incoming North Korean ICBM.

“So we do have confidence in our ability to defend against the limited threat, the nascent threat that is there,” he told reporters. He acknowledged though that previous U.S. missile defense tests had shown “mixed results.”

The North Korean launch this week was both earlier and “far more successful than expected,” said U.S.-based missile expert John Schilling, a contributor to Washington-based North Korea monitoring project 38 North.

It would now probably only be a year or two before a North Korean ICBM achieved “minimal operational capability,” he added.

Schilling said the U.S. national missile defense system was “only minimally operational” and would take more than two years to upgrade to provide more reliable defense.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney)

  • Bittergal Afrikaans

    Just look at History Cuba ,Vietnam, Afghanistan,Iran,Syria and North Korea. Russia and China build their barking dogs to test the Western World and see what we will do or give them. Russia and China head to the G20 with a Solution for a price

  • Expat47

    They should have been using force on N. Korea 60 years ago! To have allowed that war to go unfinished all these decades has only led to this, here and now.
    A fine example of “kick the can down the road” politics.

  • constitutiononly

    UN sanctions are not worth spitting on.

  • Javanne

    All of the Dear Leaders have learned that such talk is cheap.

  • Mark

    The war never ended in Korea. Kim’s action tell me that he is daring the USA to do something provocative. I realize the consequences to SK if we attack NK. But those consequences are going to grow exponentially if allowed to continue. I believe our president will exhaust all diplomatic avenues and then will strike. I would back this move.

    • constitutiononly

      We’ve been talking to and bribing NK for decades. DECADES! I was born during the Korean War. My father was lost in the Korean War. I am SICK of ALL Koreans.

  • deadandwicked

    Let’s kick Cabbage Patch doll’s face in and then lock up Hillary, Billy, and the rest of the Loonies. Tired of all the crap and delays. Sock her up and then Lock her up. Let’s beat the crap out of Governor Jerry Brown Eye too !!!stick an AR15 right up his poop chute !!!

  • John airconn

    It’s time to send special OPS in to take out this fat little POS !!

  • Jules

    The time for talking was over long before his narcissistic father died. Anyone can see that. Trump is responsible for putting the screws to China to either act or get out of the way.

  • ELMO

    Unfortunately time is almost up on the N Korean issue. China has played N Korea against us for decades. Better to go in now then leave this mess for the next generation to deal with. We might as well clean up the S China Sea while we are at it. Our US Multi National Corporation will fight this with every media outlet they own because they are no longer US Corporations, they are beyond nationality and can buy legislation where they need too and when they want to including the USA. Russia is not the problem it’s China.

    • John airconn

      SHHHH don’t tell the Idiot’s in Congress !!!

  • Clinicaleducator1

    Let the Japanese have nukes. THAT will even the score QUICKLY!! Both China and NK are scared of the Japs. LONG term enemies for millennium.

  • GBWO

    Once the dogs get out, and it appears in the not to distant future there will be a reality check for the majority of the population in the US, especially for those on the West Coast. But on the bright side how many ICBMs does the little fat man have. The real threat is China and has been for quite a while.

  • paul

    WHY ISN’T PRESIDENT TRUMP’S VISIT TO POLAND A STORY ON OANN???

    • Jim Dorrough

      It is

  • KMA

    IMO I see no way out…SK will have to be the sacrificial lamb. Attack with Absolutely no warning!!!!!! We must protect Japan, because of the WWII agreement.

    EMP bomb, then blacken the sky with conventional weapons(w/Ohio class subs in waiting). This is the only way I can see to save American lives.

    No one will be the winners here, but we have think about Iran who will be watching. Saudi Arabia would be the sacrificial lamb in that one(no great loss), but we would have to keep a close eye on Pakistan.

    As Americans we need to decide whether we are all in or nothing at all. Once in …we NEVER go for the knockout(except WWII).No more games, cost to many American lives!
    MAGA!

    • come and take it

      agreed.

      too bad our executive is puszy-footing around and looking to the euro-pansies and china to fix the situation instead of acting like a leader.

  • John C Raby

    This is getting serious. If hi tec. war breaks out NK will loose 1/4 to 1/2 Mil. troops. I would be a slaughter. God help us if we have to go in on the ground.

    • antiliberal00

      We don’t need to put ground troops in. We can lay waste to NK and make its lands uninhabitable for the next 10,000 years.

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  • Bill Jr

    Don’t We Have Missiles In South Korea Now That Could Have Shot It Down After Launch? Oh! That’s Right ‘Holiday Routine!’

  • john kirkland

    enough is enough, destroy north korea…..

    • constitutiononly

      But, we only get one shot at it. Do it right. Obliterate it and make it uninhabitable.

  • NAVYNUKE

    Without the sacrifice the US made to save Korea the entire peninsula would be like NK. China and Russia didn’t care, but the South Koreans remember who saved their bacon. We lost a lot of soldiers there.

  • TP

    North Korea is kinda like our politicians promises to fix Social Security or the Republicans who have promised to repeal Obama Care all talk and no action. The people of North Korea deserve to be free, the only way they will become free is to change the Regime! It’s been true since 1952!
    The two greatest threats to America at the moment are North Korea and Iran, both of which Obama caved to. I pray President Trump will be more then another Republican promise!

    • come and take it

      that would be nice, but so far he’s looking like nothing but…

  • J. Waltam

    Folks, NK is gonna do it! No need to worry about global warming. When these lunatics start torching off their nucs, the world is going to get plenty of climate change.

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  • Chris m

    Why oh why is blobama meeting with moon?? Has the former pres not done enough damage.

    • John airconn

      Because the POS Hate’s America and is a Muslim POS that’s why !!

  • Tado

    Japan should re-arm itself, quietly.
    It should be self-reliant and self-motivated.
    Japan has the technology and resources to nuclearize and nuke Communist Korea.

    • come and take it

      agreed, all counties should because the u.s. government has shown time and again that it does not keep its word to allies.

      it’s sad, but it can’t be trusted anymore.

      • Tado

        It is what it is.
        Now, live with it keep yourself safe and erect.

        • come and take it

          yup, i’m rock-hard over here…

          : )

      • Tado

        even if America were trustable, Japan should rearm to protect the increasing threats on Japanese Territory, Japanese Penises & Japanese Vaginas.
        Loooook, those are not ours, neither us.
        We are America & Americans.
        Regardless….

  • TexanForever

    We have the means to destroy the missiles in mid flight with our own missiles or perhaps, better yet, one of the new high powered Raytheon lasers. The reason could be that we were concerned for shipping in the Sea of Japan.

    We shouldn’t permit any more launches. China won’t interfere with us because to do so would be to cut off their huge economic windfall profits from Capitalism. Money talks. Money trumps Communism.

    Too bad the Chinks don’t send in a special undercover team to take out fat-boy Un.
    .

    • come and take it

      start blocking ships carrying chinese goods from entering american ports and they’ll fix the problem.

      trump ain’t got the huevos for that though.

  • norris

    I was stationed in South Korea in 2000. The North has never changed and never will. I asked a Flag Officer once, why are we still in south korea? He told me that the US is in South Korea, anymore, to keep the south from taking the north. All we have to do is release the south and let them take the fat bastard out.

  • Grateful415

    This one may push Japan a little closer to the edge. I worry that the options are getting a little thinner as SK President has warned NK idiot that this is his last chance for dialogue.
    I don’t care much for what China thinks, however, the build up of Chinese troops along NK’S boarder is very telling.
    The NK idiot is simply not getting the message and China certainly isn’t doing us any favors. I have a really bad feeling about this…

    • constitutiononly

      The NK idiot is only doing what China tells him and his handlers to do. China is NOT our friend.

      • Grateful415

        I know. This whole thing is going to go live very quickly.
        The language out of the UN today from our Ambassador was very strong and I am proud of her for the position she conveyed to both the Chinese and the Russians!