United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley laid it all out there for North Korea on Friday, saying that she is more than willing to let Defense Secretary Jim Mattis deal with the nuclear threat from Pyongyang if sanctions fail to work as they have been.
The ambassador said recent sanctions have “strangled” North Korea’s “economic situation,” calling the impact “dramatic.”
But Haley said there is only so much that the U.N. Security Council can do “when you cut 90 percent of the trade and 30 percent of the oil.”
For decades now the United Stated has been sanctioning North Korea to no avail, and now they have nuclear weapons capable of being placed on an ICBM.
“So having said that, I have no problem kicking it to General Mattis because I think he has plenty of options,” Haley said at the White House briefing, where she and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster previewed U.S. efforts at the U.N. General Assembly next week.
The rogue North Korean regime tested its longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile Friday, sending an intermediate-range weapon hurtling over U.S. ally Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean in a launch that signals both defiance of its rivals and a big technological advance.
H.R. McMaster stressed Friday that the U.S. is still trying to resolve the conflict diplomatically. Joining Nikki Haley at the briefing, he said it’s important to employ “rigorous enforcement of those sanctions” in pursuit of that route but acknowledged the United States is willing to use force.
“There is a military option,” he said. “Now, it’s not what we 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.” (Related: Seal Team 6 is training with South Korean assassination squad to take out Kim Jong-un)
He said “denuclearization” is the only acceptable outcome.
“We’re out of time,” McMaster said. “As Ambassador Haley said before, we’ve been kicking the can down the road and we’re out of road.”
Since President Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” in August, the North has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, threatened to send missiles into the waters around the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and launched two missiles of increasing range over Japan.
The Security Council scheduled an emergency closed-door meeting Friday afternoon in New York. On Monday, it unanimously approved its toughest sanctions yet on North Korea over its nuclear test.
H.R. McMaster: ‘There is a military option’ for dealing with North Korea and Kim Jong-un
President Donald Trump’s top national security aide said Friday there is a military option for handling North Korea’s missile and nuclear testing, even though it’s an option the Trump administration does not want to employ. (Related: North Korea Fires Another Missile from Pyongyang In Unprecedented Threat)
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said at the White Hous that the administration again wants new sanctions against North Korea to work. But he warned that the regime’s stepped up testing means that “we’re out of time.”
“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” he said. “So for those who have said and commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option.”
McMaster stressed, however, that the Trump administration is still hopeful that new United Nations sanctions against North Korea will deter the regime, and stressed that military action is “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,” he 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.”
McMaster was joined at the White House by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who agreed that the UN is running out of options for pursuing the “peaceful pressure” campaign that Trump’s team has hoped would bring North Korea to heel.
“There’s not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here,” Haley said. (Related: Nikki Haley: Kim Jong-un ‘begging for war’; U.N. diplomats call for more sanctions as North Korea preps for another ICBM test)
Haley’s comments suggest that she won’t revive an attempt to push an oil embargo through the U.N. Security Council, after China and Russia opposed the measure last week. Instead, she argued that the resolution which passed instead of the more-stringent embargo would be a strong deterrent to the regime if it is implemented effectively.
“If you look at the resolutions that have passed over the last month, the two of them, they cut 30 percent of their oil, they banned all the laborers, they based 90 percent of the exports, they banned joint ventures,” Haley said. “in the words of North Korea, we’ve strangled their economic situation at this point.”
While McMaster said “we’re out of time” on North Korea, he also admitted the sanctions will take time to have maximum affect. It was an apparent warning to Russia and China, both of which oppose additional U.S. military buildups in the Asia-Pacific region, yet also provide economic lifelines to North Korea.
Their comments came one day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on China to implement the oil embargo unilaterally.
“China supplies essentially all of North Korea’s oil,” Tillerson told reporters in London. “I am hopeful that China — as a great country, a world power — will decide on their own and will take it upon themselves to use that very powerful tool of oil supply to persuade North Korea to reconsider its current path towards weapons development, to reconsider its approach to dialogue and negotiations in the future.”
Here is the full briefer, at 9:50 mark is where Haley talks about kicking it to Mattis.
Sanctions against North Korea haven’t worked. Soon as North Korea says they will back off they release some new propaganda video, or launch a missile over a United States ally the next day.
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