NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The United Nations Security Council held an emergency session Monday after North Korea tested what it says is a powerful hydrogen bomb.
The United States told the council that America does not want war, but it stressed that it is imperative that it issues its sternest warning yet to North Korea if there is any hope in solving the crisis diplomatically, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left,” said Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “The stakes could not be higher. The urgency is now.”
Haley told the council that it must enact its strongest sanctions yet against North Korea, whose dictator, Kim Jung Un, is widely considered rogue and dangerous.
“His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threat show that he is begging for war,” Haley said. “War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now, but our country’s patience is not unlimited.”
Haley also reiterated that the United States will consider trade sanctions against any country doing business with North Korea.
It was the council’s second emergency session on the North’s weapons programs in less than a week.
The council had gathered just five days earlier to condemn Pyongyang’s launch of a missile over Japan and reiterate demands for North Korea to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. Last month, the council imposed its stiffest sanctions so far on North Korea, banning the North’s lucrative exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood products.
South Korea reports that it has exercised live fire drills using long-range missiles and fighter jets in a simulated attack on North Korea. U.S. officials have been in close contact with South Korea, where it is installing new missile launch pads in response to the North.
When asked by reporters if he will attack North Korea, President Donald Trump responded, “We’ll see,” speaking after North Korea’s test was conducted Sunday, its most powerful underground thermonuclear explosion yet.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and military leaders briefed the president at the White House on all military options.
“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming,” Mattis said.
North Korea’s state-run media released photos of Kim inspecting what they claim is a miniaturized hydrogen bomb that could fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S.
Sunday’s blast at North Korea’s main nuclear test site created a manmade earthquake felt in China and Russia. Scientists believe it was potentially 10 times more powerful than North Korea’s previous nuclear test and at least five times the explosive power of the bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the end of World War II, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
“It is not only a much more powerful weapon, but it might also have been something that is more miniaturized,” said Brookings Institution senior fellow Jonathan Pollack. “In others words, so that it would in theory at least be able to fit on the warhead of a long range missile.”
While Mattis says the U.S. is not trying to start war, he said, “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea.”
Even before Sunday’s missile test, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said if North Korea continues with its threats, the U.S. may be forced to act.
“I am 100 percent certain that if Kim Jong Un continues to develop missile technology that can hit America, if diplomacy fails to stop him, there will be an attack by the U.S. against his weapon system,” Graham said.
“While what the administration is saying on military options is the same from previous administrations, which is all options are on the table, you do have the sense that military options are a higher prospect now than we’ve ever seen,” said Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington bureau chief.
Trump is scheduled to speak with South Korean President Moon Jae-in Monday.
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