NEW YORK– The United States urged the United Nations Security Council Monday to adopt the “strongest possible” sanctions against North Korea over its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley made the appeal at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, which was convened in the wake of North Korea’s test Sunday of what it said was an H-bomb that can fit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile.
“Enough is enough,” she said. “The time has come to exhaust all of our diplomatic means before it’s too late. We must now adopt the strongest possible measures.”
The ambassador said Washington would prepare a new sanctions resolution this week and aim for a vote next Monday.
“Only the strongest sanctions will enable us to resolve this problem through diplomacy,” Haley said.
The move comes just a month after the 15-member Security Council unanimously passed new sanctions to choke off Pyongyang’s access to funds for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Haley said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wants to be acknowledged as a nuclear power, but his “abusive” use of missiles and nuclear weapons shows he is “begging for war.”
“War is never something the United States wants,” Haley said. “We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited.”
In a veiled swipe at China and Russia, she said it is “insulting” to propose a so-called “freeze for freeze” that calls on South Korea and the U.S. to suspend their annual military exercises — something Pyongyang views as a rehearsal for an invasion — in exchange for a halt to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.
She also warned that the U.S. would view countries that do business with North Korea as enablers of the regime’s nuclear program.
“We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There’s no more road left,” she said.
While condemning North Korea’s actions, China and Russia urged an immediate return to dialogue with the recalcitrant state.
“The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula,” said Chinese Amb. Liu Jieyi.
Russian Amb. Vassily Nebenzia weighed in, saying there is “an urgent need to maintain a cool head and refrain from any action that could further escalate tensions.”
Cooperation from Beijing and Moscow is essential to pass any new sanctions against Pyongyang as they are two of the five permanent veto-wielding members of the Security Council.
Both countries approved last month’s sanctions, which included a ban on North Korea’s exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood, following the regime’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.
The resolution was designed to slash by a third Pyongyang’s US$3 billion annual export revenue.
Haley pointed out that previous sanctions against North Korea were not fully implemented.
Source: Yonhap News Agency