The US warned the North Korean leadership that it would be “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out, after Pyongyang test-fired its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, putting the united states mainland within range. The Trump administration has repeatedly said all options were available in handling North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear weapons program, including military ones, but that it still prefers a diplomatic option.
Still, speaking at an emergency UN Security Council conference, US ambassador Nikki Haley warned: “We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it. If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday … And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”
Haley said America has asked China to shut down oil supply to North Korea, a drastic step that Beijing – the North’s neighbour and sole major trading partner – has up to now refrained from doing. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping talked on the phone earlier on Wednesday.
“Just spoke to President Xi Jinping of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Previous US administrations have failed to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and an advanced missile program. Trump, in addition, has struggled to contain Pyongyang since he reached office in January.
Urging China to implement its leverage on Pyongyang and encouraging more sanctions against North Korea are two strategies that have borne small fruit up to now. In a speech in Missouri about taxes, Trump, who has exchanged insults with the North before, described North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a derisive nickname. “Little Rocket Man. He is a sick puppy,” Trump said.
The latest missile was fired a week after Trump put North Korea back on a US list of countries it says support terrorism, letting it impose more sanctions.
US political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman met with North Korea’s Ambassador Ja Song Nam on Wednesday to tell him Pyongyang need to “desist from taking any further destabilizing steps” following the country launched another ballistic missile.
North Korea, which carried out its 6th and largest nuclear bomb test in September, has tested a large number of ballistic missiles under Kim’s leadership in defiance of international sanctions.
Pyongyang has said its weapons programmes certainly are a necessary defence against the US plans to invade. AMERICA, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean Battle, denies such intention.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called on North Korea on Wednesday to quit its missile and nuclear tests and for America and South Korea not to hold military drills in December since it would “inflame an already explosive situation.”
North Korea said the new missile soared to an altitude around 4,475 km (2,780 miles) – more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station – and flew 950 km (590 miles) during its 53-minute flight.
It flew higher and longer than any North Korean missile before, landing in the sea near Japan. Missile experts said the new “Hwasong-15” missile theoretically gave North Korea the ability to hit the US, including the East Coast, although it was not clear whether it could carry a nuclear weapon.
Photos released by North Korean state media appeared to show a missile being placed on the launch site by a mobile vehicle, designed to allow the missile to be fired from a wider number of areas to prevent it being intercepted before launch.
Kim is presented laughing and smiling with officials both next to the missile as it is readied, and in a control booth. The launch itself shows the missile lifting off amid smoke and fire, with Kim viewing from a field in the distance.
US intelligence analysts have concluded from satellite and other data that the test missile was fired from a fixed position, not a mobile launcher, on Wednesday three US officials said.
Two of the officials, who both follow advancements in North Korea closely, said that while the test seems to demonstrate a more powerful North Korean solid-fuel propulsion system, especially in its second stage rocket, it is definitely not clear that North Korea has developed a weapon that could reliably deliver a nuclear weapon to the united states mainland.
Both officials also said the North hasn’t proved it has an accurate guidance system for an intercontinental ballistic missile or a re-entry vehicle with the capacity of carrying a nuclear warhead and surviving a return from space through Earth’s atmosphere.
The photos revealed some advancements in missile technology, including a larger diameter, which could permit the missile to carry a larger warhead and use an even more powerful engine, said David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an US-based non-profit science advocacy group.
US, Japanese and South Korean officials all agreed the missile, which landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, was likely an ICBM.
“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken, a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically,” US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House.
An international conference in Canada in January is made to produce “better ideas” to help ease tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests, On Wednesday Canadian officials said, although North Korea itself will not be invited.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday America has “a long list of additional potential sanctions, some of which involve potential financial institutions, and the Treasury Department will be announcing those when they’re ready to roll those out.”
The new Hwasong-15, named following the planet Mars, was a more advanced version of an ICBM tested twice in July, North Korea said. It was designed to carry a “super-large heavy warhead”.
Based on its trajectory and distance, the missile would have a range greater than 13,000 km (8,100 miles) – more than enough to attain Washington D.C. and the rest of the USA, the Union of Concerned Scientists said. However, it was unclear how heavy a payload the missile was carrying, and it was uncertain if it could carry a large nuclear warhead that far, the group said.
In merely 3 months, South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics at a resort just 80 km (50 miles) from the heavily fortified border with North Korea.