UNITED NATIONS — Saying Kim Jong Un is “begging for war,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council Monday that “enough is enough,” while urging the body to adopt the strongest possible sanctions in response to the North Korean leader’s latest nuclear test.
“The time for half measures in the Security Council is over,” Haley said at an emergency meeting of the 15-member UN body.
On Sunday, North Korea said it had performed an underground test on a hydrogen bomb. Experts estimated the device was more than five times as powerful as the weapon the United States detonated over Hiroshima in 1945.
“Nuclear powers understand their responsibilities,” Haley told Security Council members. “Kim Jong Un shows no such understanding.”
Haley said the United States will circulate a draft resolution this week pushing further sanctions against North Korea with the goal of putting it to a vote next Monday, Haley said.
“I think that North Korea basically has slapped everyone in the face in the international community that has asked them to stop,” she said.
Haley’s condemnation came as President Donald Trump and his advisers spent the long holiday weekend assessing the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, consulting other world leaders and considering whether time is running out on a diplomatic solution.
On Monday, Trump spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for the first time since North Korea’s Sunday nuclear test. According to a statement from South Korea’s presidential office, Moon and Trump agreed to remove the limit on the payload of South Korean missiles in response to the North’s nuclear test.
In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moon told him the United Nations Security Council should seriously review cutting off oil supplies to North Korea, according to Moon’s presidential office. Moon also urged the Security Council to review measures aimed at cutting off sources of North Korea’s foreign currencies, including banning countries from importing the country’s workers. The office said Putin told Moon that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs threaten international peace and security, but emphasized finding a diplomatic solution.
South Korea has said the aim of stronger sanctions is to draw North Korea into dialogue, but Trump tweeted Sunday that the South’s “talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they [North Korea] only understand one thing.”
The White House said Trump also spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and both leaders “condemned North Korea’s continued reckless and dangerous behavior,” and reaffirmed the importance of close coordination at the UN.
Several of Haley’s UN Security Council colleagues also spoke out against North Korea’s latest provocation and her remarks followed a report on the situation by UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.
Feltman briefed the council, saying experts at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna detected “an unusual seismic event” that measured approximately 6.0 in magnitude and was the largest North Korea had ever tested.
This was North Korea’s sixth nuclear explosive test, Feltman said. The country’s first test was conducted in October 2006.
“We are alarmed by this dangerous provocation,” Feltman said.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres “condemns the underground nuclear test announced by the DPRK,” Feltman said. “This act is yet another serious breach of the DPRK’s international obligations and undermines international nonproliferation and disarmament efforts. This act is also profoundly destabilizing for regional and international security.”
Both China and Russia condemned the test while cautioning against overreaction, reiterating a proposal to require North Korea to halt all nuclear testing in exchange for the cessation of all military exercises conducted in the area by South Korea and the United States.
“China will never allow chaos and war on the [Korean] Peninsula,” said Liu Jieyi, China’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said: “A comprehensive settlement to the nuclear and other issues plaguing the Korean Peninsula can be arrived at solely through political diplomatic channels.”
Matthew Rycroft, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the UN, said the international community’s patience is wearing thin.
“This is the sixth time that the Security Council has come together to condemn a nuclear test by North Korea,” he said. “It’s the sixth time that the world has held its breath. North Korea is the only country in the 21st century to have conducted such tests, against all international standards of behavior. . . . This is a disturbing and unprecedented situation. Rarely has a state remained so defiant in the face of overwhelming international condemnation, and repeated powerful rounds of sanctions.”
With AP and Reuters