North Korea ‘brings us closer to war’

The U.S. ambassador to the UN said that North Korea’s launch of a missile “brings us closer” to war

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday that North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile — which some observers believe could reach the Eastern U.S. — “brings us closer” to a war the U.S. isn’t seeking.

Nikki Haley, speaking at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, said that if war comes as a result of further acts of “aggression” like the latest launch, “make no mistake the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

“The dictator of North Korea made a decision yesterday that brings us closer to war, not farther from it,” Haley said. “We have never sought war with North Korea and still today we do not seek it.”

The Trump administration threatened new sanctions on North Korea after the reclusive government shattered 2 1/2 months of relative quiet with its most powerful weapon test yet.

Related: North Korea launches another missile

President Donald Trump tweeted that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Pyongyang’s “provocative actions,” and he vowed that “additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” Trump’s top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, said the U.S. could target financial institutions doing business with the North.

At the emergency Security Council meeting, China’s deputy U.N. ambassador Wu Haitao reiterated the China-Russia proposal for North Korea to suspend all nuclear and missile tests and for the U.S. and South Korea to suspend all military exercises.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador Vassily Nebenzia also urged North Korea to stop the tests and called on the U.S. and South Korea to cancel large-scale military manoeuvrs scheduled for December.

Haley said the world’s nations have the power to further isolate and reverse North Korea’s dangerous course, by cutting all ties to the country and enforcing U.N. sanctions. She said Trump during his call to Xi urged the Chinese president to cut off all oil deliveries to North Korea. “That would be a pivotal step in the world’s effort to stop this international pariah,” she said.

The fresh deliberations about new forms of punishment for North Korea came after its government said it successfully fired a “significantly more” powerful, nuclear-capable ICBM it called the Hwasong-15. Outside governments and analysts concurred the North had made a jump in missile capability.

Related: Kim Jong Un: ‘Deranged’ Trump will ‘pay dearly’

A resumption of Pyongyang’s torrid testing pace in pursuit of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland had been widely expected. But the power of the missile and suddenness of the test jolted the Korean Peninsula and Washington. The launch at 3:17 a.m. Wednesday local time — early Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. capital — indicated an effort to perfect the element of surprise and obtain maximum attention in the U.S.

In a government statement released through state media, North Korea said the Hwasong-15, the “greatest ICBM,” could be armed with a “super-large heavy nuclear warhead” and is capable of striking the “whole mainland” of the U.S. The North said the missile reached a height of 4,475 kilometres (2,780 miles) and travelled 950 kilometres (590 miles) before accurately hitting a sea target, similar to the flight data announced by South Korea’s military.

After the launch, it said leader Kim Jong Un “declared with pride” that his country has achieved its goal of becoming a “rocket power.” State TV said Kim gave the order Tuesday, and it broadcast a photo of Kim’s signed order where he wrote: “Test launch is approved. Taking place at the daybreak of Nov. 29! Fire with courage for the party and country!”

Speaking later Wednesday, Trump could not resist taking a dig at Kim. Digressing during a speech in Missouri on tax reform, Trump called Kim “Little Rocket Man” and described him as “a sick puppy.”

The North Korean launch was a message of defiance to the Trump administration after it restored North Korea to a U.S. list of terror sponsors. It raises fears of war or a pre-emptive U.S. strike and casts a deeper shadow over the security of the Winter Olympics early next year in South Korea.

A rattled Seoul responded by almost immediately launching three of its own missiles in a show of force. South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed worry that North Korea’s missile threat could force the U.S. to attack the North before it masters a nuclear-tipped long-range missile.

The launch was North Korea’s first since Sept. 15 and may have broken any efforts at diplomacy. U.S. officials have sporadically floated the idea of direct talks with North Korea if it maintained restraint.

The missile also appeared an improvement on North Korea’s past launches.

If flown on a standard trajectory, instead of the lofted angle of the test flight, the missile would have a range of more than 13,000 kilometres (8,100 miles), said U.S. scientist David Wright, a physicist who closely tracks North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. “Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States,” Wright wrote in a blog post for the Union for Concerned Scientists.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile landed inside Japan’s special economic zone in the Sea of Japan.

A big unknown, however, is the missile’s payload. If, as expected, it carried a light mock warhead, then its effective range would have been shorter, analysts said.

In his call with Xi, Trump made clear “the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies,” according to a White House statement. Trump also “emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization.”

The Trump administration bolstered U.S. sanctions against North Korea last week and imposed new restrictions on North Korean shipping firms and Chinese companies that deal with the North.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said Xi told Trump that China remained determined to clear the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons, and to preserve peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

___

Lederer reported from the United Nations. Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in Washington, Foster Klug and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Edith M. Lederer And Matthew Pennington, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

A campaign encourages families to put down their phones and talk this Mother’s Day

OpenTable’s #DiningMode gets Okanagan restaurants on board with a no phone policy while dining

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

Olympian Andi Naude retires from freestyle skiing

Penticton native skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events in her career

Federal funding helps women at risk safely leave sex trade

The SAFE eXiting from the Sex Trade program in South Okanagan helps women

Syrup commercially produced from Summerland maple trees

Maple Roch produces 50 bottles of syrup after trees in the community were tapped

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Okanagan College names new fundraising director

Helen Jackman will join the college as executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation and director of advancement

Most Read