The United States is threatening to use its “considerable military forces” against the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
The security council session convened to discuss the international response to the DPRK's launch of a successful ballistic missile test earlier this week, which Haley said “shows that North Korea does not want to be part of a peaceful world.”
Speaking at the session, Haley said that the DPRK's “actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution. The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies. One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must.”
In spite of this not being the first time that the U.S. has warned of a “military option” should the DPRK not comply with U.S. goals of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Haley went on to say that “the United States does not seek conflict, in fact we seek to avoid it. We seek only the peaceful denuclearization of the peninsula."
The U.S. ambassador's speech was peppered with references to the recent death of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old U.S. student who was arrested for theft in the DPRK and died shortly after being returned home.
“To Americans,” Haley said, “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.”
Threats were also levied against any country that trades with the DPRK, particularly China, which Haley noted provides nearly 90 percent of trade with the nation. She emphasized that the United States has “great capabilities in the area of trade,” and that it would be possible with international cooperation to strangle the DPRK economically by cutting off all cash and oil flows to the the country.
“There are countries that are allowing trade with North Korea ... Such countries would also like to continue their trade relations with the United States. That's not going to happen,” Haley said.
The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, called for restraint and calm cooperation on the part of all parties at the meeting.
“We call on all the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue and work actively together to defuse the tension,” Liu said before the council.
The Russian ambassador criticized "unacceptable" attempts by the United States to place an economic chokehold on the DPRK and said military actions should not be on the table.
"It is of utmost importance for us, that any attempts to justify a military solution are inadmissible. They lead to unpredictable consequences for the region," Russian Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said Wednesday. "In the very same manner, attempts to economically strangle North Korea are equally unacceptable as millions of people are in great humanitarian need."
The United States has technically remained at war with the DPRK since the deadly 1950-53 conflict on the peninsula ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.
Although there has been no armed conflict since, tensions have remained high as the United States repeatedly calls for the DPRK to end its fledgling nuclear program, which North Korean leadership says is within its sovereign right to develop in order to ward off western aggression. North Korea has also said at the U.N. previously that U.S. offers of dialogue are given with too many unfair conditions.
Concluding her speech, Haley emphasized that whether it is by economic or military means, the United States would be taking a hard line against the DPRK.
“We will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that led us to this dark day,” she said.