Nikki Haley, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, spoke with the bluntness of her celebrated predecessor, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, on Wednesday in the wake of North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Haley told the assembly that they should not be surprised if North Korea’s actions are “barbaric.” North Korea has given, she said, a demonstration of a "sharp military escalation."
Referencing the death of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who died in the US almost as soon as he was returned after more than a year of imprisonment in North Korea, Haley said to an emergency session of the UN Security Council, "To Americans the death of one innocent person can be as powerful as the death of millions because all men and women are created in God's image."
Haley said that "in the coming days, we will bring before the Security Council a resolution that raises the international response in a way that is proportionate to North Korea's new escalation." The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, has openly stated his plans to fire missiles at Japan, South Korea, and the United States. For its part, the US is prepared to use its military to minimize the threat, said Haley, as well as its "great capabilities in the area of trade."
Trump tweeted on Monday, “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!” Later, Trump expressed disappointment with China. On Wednesday, he tweeted, “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter. So much for China working with us, but we had to give it a try!”
Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2017
Seconding Trump’s tweet, Haley told the UN on Wednesday that the US is preparing the “full range” of defense capabilities. "The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies," Haley said. "One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction." Next steps include increased enforcement of existing sanctions, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said as he went into the council meeting. These include a global ban on North Korea’s military-controlled airline, interception of cargo vessels, an oil embargo, punishment for Chinese banks doing business with North Korea, and the inclusion of dictator Kim among those whose travel and assets are banned.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the launch and said the action was "yet another brazen violation of Security Council resolutions and constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation." US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the missile launch a "new escalation of the threat." Meanwhile, there are rumors that North Korea is about to conduct another nuclear test.