US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has urged for “something serious has to happen” to punish the North Korean regime for violating UN sanctions after Pyongyang launch of a missile over Japan, .
The Security Council was expected to meet late on Tuesday to discuss actions after Donald Trump announced “all options are on the table” for the US following the launch of what is believed to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) – either a KN-17 or Hwasong-12 – over the northern part of Hokkaido.
It is Pyongyang’s 13th missile test this year, but the first one over a populated area in Japan – such tests are rare.
Mr Trump, who has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States, said the world had received North Korea’s latest message “loud and clear”.
“Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table,” Mr Trump said in a statement.
Mr Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke and agreed that North Korea “poses a grave and growing direct threat” to the United States, Japan and South Korea, the White House said.
Ms Haley said the launch was “absolutely unacceptable and irresponsible” and that “enough is enough”.
Ms Haley said she hoped China and Russia would continue to work with the rest of the Security Council to discuss what more can be done about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes. China and Russia typically only view a test of a long-range missile or a nuclear weapon as a trigger for further possible UN sanctions.
The Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea earlier this month after it staged two long-range missile launches in July.
Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia – responding to Mr Trump’s statement – said: “It’s troubling, because tensions are high and whose nerves are stronger, we don’t know.”
China’s Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the crisis was “approaching a critical juncture”, but it might also be a turning point to open the door to peace talks.
It was reported recently that US Intelligence officials had deduced that the isolated regime of North korean leader Kim Jong-un has developed the ability to place a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Rhetoric has been steadily escalating since. In the wake of that news, Mr Trump said Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States, with North Korea then threatening to fire four missiles into the sea near the US Pacific territory of Guam.
Shortly after the latest launch, South Korea – the capital of Seoul is only 193 miles (312 km) from North Korea – tested a bomb at one of its border installations. South Korea and the United States had also discussed deploying additional “strategic assets” on the Korean peninsula, South Korea’s presidential Blue House said in a statement, without giving more details.
The latest missile fell into the sea 1,180 km (735 miles) east of Hokkaido, the Japanese government said. In many northern Japanese towns, sirens wailed and loudspeakers urged residents to take cover.
The launch was North Korea’s second since US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to make a peace overture last week, by welcoming what he called the restraint Pyongyang had shown by not conducting tests for several weeks. Mr Trump also expressed optimism last week about a possible improvement in relations, saying of that he was full of “respect the fact that [Mr Kim] is starting to respect us.”
Having to rely on the UN to help with future action may not be entirely to Mr Trump’s liking, despite repeatedly saying a diplomatic solution to the threat from North Korea was best. In the past, Mr Trump has been a fierce critic of the UN and particularly the Security Council.
During the 2016 campaign, Mr Trump repeatedly called the UN a “a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time”.
In April he hosted the 15 member council for a rare lunch at the White House and told them he was “disappointed” because the “UN doesn’t like to take on problems” and has remained “blindfolded” for decades to taking action on threats like North Korea.
Richard Gowan, a UN expert with the European Council on Foreign Relations, told The Independent in April that Mr Trump’s comments “could actually be useful blather.”
He “may just scare a few Council members into being a bit more constructive in future,” said Mr Gowan.
Ms Haley described August’s UN sanctions to CNN as a “gut punch” to Mr Kim.
“The ball is in North Korea’s court. They now have to decide where they want to go from here. We hope that they will go the route of peace and security,” she said at the time.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called on China to put more pressure on North Korea to stop missile tests, saying Beijing has a key role to play in international efforts to prevent what she described as significant provocation by Pyongyang.
On Tuesday, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over northern Japan’s Hokkaido island into the sea in a new show of force.
“We want to ensure that they desist this action. We see that the best way of doing that is for China to be bringing pressure to bear on North Korea,” May told reporters on her way to Japan for meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Independent News Service