North Korea ‘begging for war’ says US, calling for strongest possible sanctions

Kim Jong-un ‘begging for war’ says US ambassador to UN

America’s top diplomat has warned that North Korea is “begging for war” and urged the UN security council to impose the toughest sanctions possible on the isolated dictatorship.

The blunt statement by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, came as Donald Trump spoke with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and agreed that the North’s latest nuclear test was an “unprecedented” provocation.

Could North Korea trigger a nuclear war?

North Korea carried out its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test on Sunday. The underground blast triggered a magnitude 6.3 tremor and was more powerful than the bombs dropped by the US on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the second world war.

“Enough is enough,” said Haley, noting that an approach of incremental sanctions since 2006 had not worked. “The time for half measures in the security council is over. The time has come to exhaust all of our diplomatic means before it’s too late.”

Nuclear powers understand their responsibilities, she added, and Kim Jong-un has shown no such understanding. “His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war. War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory.”

Haley said her country would circulate a resolution this week with the aim of getting it approved next Monday and, in a thinly veiled jab at China, said the US would target countries trading with Pyongyang, a prospect also raised by Trump on Sunday.

“The United States will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country, that is giving aid to their reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions,” she said. “The stakes could not be higher.”

She added: “Only the strongest sanctions will enable us to resolve this problem through diplomacy. We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left.”

Trump and Moon spoke for around 40 minutes by phone on Monday, according to South Korea’s presidential office. Trump reaffirmed an “ironclad” commitment to South Korea’s defence, it said, and the two countries agreed to seek stronger UN sanctions against the North.

The leaders also agreed to remove a limit on the payload of South Korean missiles in response to the North’s nuclear test, which they saw as a grave provocation that was “unprecedented”.

In the wake of the North Korean test on Sunday, Trump accused South Korea…

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