Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday said North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch was “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution” and vowed that the U.S. would use “our considerable military forces … if we must.”
“The United States does not seek conflict,” Haley, the former South Carolina Republican governor, said at the start of an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council in New York. “In fact, we seek to avoid it.
“We seek only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and an end to the threatening actions by North Korea.
“Regrettably, we’re witnessing just the opposite.”
Haley called Pyongyang’s missile launch on Tuesday “a clear and sharp military escalation.
“Their actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution,” she said. “The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies.
“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces.
“We will use them if we must,” she said. “But we prefer not to have to go in that direction.”
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un said Tuesday that Pyongyang had successfully tested an ICBM that rose more than 1,741 miles and traveled 578 miles from the launch site.
North Korea boasted that its missiles were now capable of reaching “anywhere in the world.”
CNN reported Wednesday that U.S. intelligence officials believed that the two-stage missile had never been seen before and had the capacity to reach Alaska.
Sources told the cable network that before Pyongyang test-launched its KN-17 liquid-fueled missile, the military attached a second-stage missile on top of it.
The additional part had a separate 30-second burn cycle, allowing the weapon to travel further.
In addition, Kim said Wednesday that North Korea would “demonstrate its mettle to the U.S.” and never use its weapons programs in negotiations.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. response to the test would include “stronger measures to hold [North Korea] accountable.”
President Donald Trump also ripped China for continuing to trade with Pyongyang — and the missile launch came as the president headed to Hamburg for the G-20 summit later this week.
In her speech at the Security Council, Haley called the missile launch “not only dangerous but reckless and irresponsible.
“It showed that North Korea does not want to be part of a peaceful world,” she said. “They have cast a dark shadow of conflict on all nations that strive for peace.”
She slammed Kim as a “vicious dictator” who returned U.S. college student Otto Warmbier to his Ohio parents last month in a coma after holding him in prison for 17 months.
Warmbier, 22, a University of Virginia student, died on June 19.
He had been medically evacuated from North Korea the previous week. Doctors said Warmbier returned with severe brain damage.
“For Americans, the true nature of the North Korean regime was painfully brought home with the images of two guards holding Otto Warmbier up as they transported him from a prison he should never have been in.
“Otto Warmbier is but one person out of millions who have been killed, tortured, or deprived of their human rights by the North Korean regime,” Haley said. “To Americans, the death of one innocent person can be as powerful as the death of millions.
“Because all men and women are created in God’s image, depravity toward one is a sure sign of willingness to do much more harm.
“The nature of the North Korean regime is clear,” she said. “Only the scale of the damage it does could become different.
“That’s why yesterday’s escalation is so alarming.
“If North Korea will treat an innocent young student the way it treated Otto Warmbier, we should not be surprised if it acts barbarically on a larger scale.”
Haley said that she will introduce a Security Council resolution later this week “that raises the international response in a way that is proportionate to North Korea’s new escalation” and called on other nations to pressure Pyongyang to drop its nuclear and weapons ambitions.
“There remains more that the international community can and must do, diplomatically and economically,” she said.
“Time is short. Action is required. The world is on notice.
“If we act together, we can still prevent a catastrophe, and we can rid the world of a grave threat,” Haley said.
“If we fail to act in a serious way, there will be a different response.”