Following North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump hinted at further sanctions against the regime.
“I will only tell you that we will take care of it. It is a situation that we will handle,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Republican congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday.
|US President Donald Trump addresses a gathering in Missouri on Wednesday. Yonhap|
In a tweet, Trump added “Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” following his telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In the conversation, the US president urged China to take a firmer hand against North Korea. China, along with Russia, has been reluctant to isolate the regime completely.
“President Trump underscored the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies from the growing threat posed by the North Korean regime,” the White House said in a statement after Trump’s telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“President Trump emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization.”
The US has also been quick to call on other nations to ramp up the pressure on Pyongyang.
“We call on all nations to cut off all ties with North Korea,” US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Wednesday.
She added that Trump has asked Xi to cut oil supplies to North Korea, saying that that would be “a pivotal step” in ending North Korea’s provocations.
Haley also warned North Korea against possible military action.
“If war comes, make no mistake: The North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed,” she said.
The UN Security Council resolution adopted in September stopped short of a complete oil embargo sought by Seoul and Washington.
The resolution, adopted shortly after Pyongyang’s six nuclear test, limits North Korea from importing more than 4 million barrels of crude oil, and processed petroleum products imports to 2 million barrels per year.
Meanwhile, the US Department of State called on the international community to take measures in addition to existing sanctions.
In a statement posted on its website, the US Department of State called on nations to take steps to “enhance maritime security, including the right to interdict maritime traffic transporting goods to and from the DPRK.” DPRK is short for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is North Korea’s official name.
North Korea’s latest defiance of international pressure to end missile and nuclear programs appears to have prompted Trump to revive his insults at North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
At a rally in Missouri, Trump referring to Kim as a “sick puppy,” adding a new insult to those that have been hurled from both sides. Trump has in the past referred to Kim as “Rocket Man,” and implied that he was “short and fat” in a tweet. North Korea has also hurled numerous insults at the US president including “dotard.”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)