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US urges all countries to cut off ties to North Korea

30-11-2017, 09:37

The United States on Wednesday called on countries to cut off all diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea in response to its latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

reports citing AFP.

"We call on all nations to cut off all ties with North Korea," US Ambassador Nikki Haley told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

The UNSC opened earlier on the same day an emergency meeting to discuss a response to North Korea's groundbreaking missile test as leader Kim Jong-Un declared his country had completed its drive to become a nuclear power.

US President Donald Trump derided Kim as a "sick puppy" and vowed Washington was ready to slap "major sanctions" after the test-firing of an ICBM.

Pyongyang on Wednesday tested its third ICBM -- which it claimed was capable of striking anywhere in the United States -- snapping a two-month pause in missile launches.

The council was meeting at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea to consider next steps after three rounds of sanctions adopted in the past year failed to push North Korea to change course.

Trump spoke by telephone with Chinese President Xi Jinping and urged Beijing to use "all available levers" to press the hermit state.

"Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!" Trump said on Twitter.

Trump last week announced new US unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang and returned it to a US list of state sponsors of terror.

Wednesday's missile was more sophisticated than any previously tested, state media said.

"The ICBM Hwasong-15 type weaponry system is an intercontinental ballistic rocket tipped with super-large heavy warhead which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the US," the North's official news agency KCNA said.

North Korean state television brought out Ri Chun-Hee, a star presenter who only appears for significant developments, to announce the landmark.

"Kim Jong-Un declared with pride that now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power," she said.

France's UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said the Security Council should respond with a "tightening of the sanctions" -- a move that would likely entail the adoption of a new sanctions resolution.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called for "additional measures" to toughen up international sanctions, including allowing countries to intercept vessels carrying goods to and from North Korea.

Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho said "the international community has to keep the pressure up so that North Koreans will understand that they need to change their course."

Over the past year, the council has imposed biting sanctions on Pyongyang aimed at choking off revenue to Pyongyang's military programs.

These include a ban on North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, trade restrictions and the blacklisting of a number of North Korean entities and officials.

The council has also banned the hiring of North Korean guest workers and capped oil exports, in particular from China, Pyongyang's main trading partner.

Russia called the launch "provocative" and China, North Korea's sole major ally and diplomatic protector, expressed "grave concern and opposition."

Beijing once again pressed its proposal that the North stop missile and nuclear tests in exchange for a freeze of US military exercises.

Washington has repeatedly rejected the proposal.

Canada said it would host a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the North Korean threat.

Pyongyang said the missile reached an altitude of 4,475 kilometers (2,800 miles) and splashed down 950 kilometers from its launch site.

At least one Western expert said the missile's lofted trajectory suggested an actual range of 13,000 kilometers -- enough to hit every major US city.

David Wright, an arms control expert and co-director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the flight parameters of Wednesday's test pointed to a missile with "more than enough range to reach Washington DC, and in fact any part of the continental United States."

While Pyongyang has yet to prove its mastery of the re-entry technology required to bring a warhead back through the Earth's atmosphere, experts believe it is at least on the threshold of developing a working intercontinental nuclear strike capability.

In September Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and then fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan.

Trump spoke by phone with both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-In after Wednesday's test to underline the global threat.

Trump is close to Abe, but relations with his South Korean counterpart -- whom he has accused of appeasing Pyongyang -- are far cooler, and there are concerns in Seoul that the US president might be considering military action against the North that could trigger a full-scale war.

Seoul is home to 10 million people and only about 50 kilometers from the border -- well within range of Pyongyang's artillery.


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