The US has said there is a military option for handling North Korea’s nuclear tests, but it prefers a peaceful solution and asked the international community to do everything to address the global problem short of a war. North Korea yesterday fired an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. But the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had said the ballistic missile did not pose a threat to North America.
National Security Advisor Lt Gen H R McMaster told reporters at a White House news conference that the US has the military option, but this is not the option it would prefer. “For those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option. Now, it’s not what we would prefer to do. So, what we have to do is call on all nations, call on everyone, to do everything we can to address this global problem short of war,” McMaster said.
“So that is implementing now these significant sanctions that have just now gone into place, and it is convincing everyone to do everything that they can. And that it’s in their interest to do it,” he said. Next week, US President Donald Trump would host the South Korean and Japanese leaders over lunch in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“As Kim Jong Un’s most recent missile launch demonstrates, North Korea remains one of the world’s most urgent and dangerous security problems. It is vital that all nations work together to do our utmost to solve that problem,” he said. US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley who also joined the press conference, said the US is trying and pushing through as many diplomatic options as they have.
“If you look at the resolutions that have passed in the last month, the two of them, they cut 30 per cent of the oil. They banned all the labourers. They banned 90 per cent of the exports. They banned joint ventures. We’ve basically taken, and in the words of North Korea, we have strangled their economic situation, at this point,” she said.
“That’s going to take a little bit of time, but it has already started to take effect. What we are seeing is they continue to be provocative, they continue to be reckless. And at that point, there’s not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here, when you’ve cut 90 per cent of the trade, and 30 per cent of the oil,” Haley said.
McMaster said sanctions are now taking effect.
“What’s really important is rigorous enforcement of those sanctions, so that we can let the economic actions and diplomacy progress as best we can. But I think we ought to make clear, what’s different about this approach is that we’re out of time, right? We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” he said.
The UN sanctions have cut off now 90 per cent of trade going into North Korea, Haley said.
“I think what the president’s saying is this is just the beginning of what we can do. There’s always more you can do. But then you get into the humanitarian aspect of it, which is at what point are you going and actually hurting down to the people of North Korea. But we will always explore all options that we have,” she said.