U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, attended an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Monday, September 4, to discuss reports on Sunday of North Korea testing a hydrogen bomb. (Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
The Trump administration’s brazen threats of blocking trade and taking military action have conflicted with calls for restraint and diplomacy.
By Jessica Corbett / 09.04.2017
Doubling-down on the previous threats made by President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis over the weekend, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday morning declared “enough is enough” when it comes to diplomatic efforts with North Korea—indicating that both military strikes and sanctions against Pyongyang’s trading partners could be next.
At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, in response to reports on Sunday that Pyongyang tested a hydrogen bomb—its most powerful nuclear test yet—Haley called on members to pass “the strongest sanctions” possible and said “the time has come to exhaust all diplomatic means” in order to end this crisis.
“We have kicked the can down the road long enough,” Haley said. “There is no more road left.”
After outlining 24 years of efforts to discourage North Korea from enhancing its nuclear capabilities, Haley echoed Trump’s comment last week that “Talking is not the answer,” stating:
We have taken an incremental approach, and despite the best of intentions, it has not worked. Members of this council will no doubt urge negotiations and a return to talks, but as I have just outlined, we have engaged in numerous direct and multilateral talks with the North Korean regime and time after time they have not worked.
Claiming that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is “begging for war,” the ambassador said although “war is never something the United States wants…our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies, and our territory.”
Haley’s warnings of military action aligned with Mattis’ statements on Sunday. Following the reported H-bomb test, Mattis said: “Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.”
Repeating a threat made by the president in a series of tweets on Sunday, Haley told the council that “the United States will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country that is giving aid to their reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions.”
The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2017
In response to Trump’s tweets, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “We cannot accept a situation in which, on the one hand we work to resolve this issue peacefully, but on the other China’s own interests are subjected to sanctions and are damaged. This is neither objective, nor is it fair.”
Monday’s emergency meeting was requested by three permanent members—the United States, Britain, and France—as well as South Korea, which is not a council member, and Japan. Last week, North Korea raised alarms when it launched a missile over Japan.
“Japan, France, and Britain called for the swift adoption of a new sanctions resolution, but the call was expected to face opposition from Russia and China, which maintain that sanctions alone will not resolve the crisis,” The Guardian reported.
At the meeting, Haley denounced the proposal from China and Russia—the council’s other two permanent members—for North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for the United States and South Korea suspending its joint military exercises.
Since North Korea first tested a nuclear device in 2006, the council has imposed seven sets of sanctions, “but Pyongyang has repeatedly found ways to circumvent the measures,” The Guardian noted, while also recognizing that “the most recent resolutions have significantly toughened the sanctions, targeting key exports sectors such as coal that are a source of hard currency for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s regime.”
The United States plans to circulate a new UN Security Council resolution on North Korea this week, Reuters reports, with a vote expected next week.