As concerns escalate over North Korea’s purported plans to test a sixth nuclear bomb as early as Tuesday, President Trump said on Monday that the U.N. Security Council must be prepared to impose new sanctions on the rogue country.
During a Monday meeting at the White House with the 15 U.N. Security Council ambassadors, including China and Russia, Trump contended that “The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable. The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”
“This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it’s a problem that we have to finally solve,” Trump said. “People put blindfolds on for decades and now it’s time to solve the problem.”
Reuters has been told by U.S. officials that harsher sanctions under consideration include an oil embargo, banning North Korea’s airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks and other foreign entities conducting business with North Korea.
According to the State Department, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will lead a special ministerial meeting of the Security Council on North Korea on Friday that will allow members to have input on strategies to maximize the impact of existing sanctions and “show their resolve to respond to further provocations with appropriate new measures”.
The White House reported that Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel conferred about the “urgent security challenge” presented by North Korea during a Monday phone call.
In an earlier phone discussion with Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping implored all sides to exercise restraint, as Japan conducted exercises with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group sailing toward Korean waters.
Incensed by the approach of the USS Carl Vinson carrier group, North Korea contended on Monday that the deployment was “an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade.”
“The United States should not run amok and should consider carefully any catastrophic consequence from its foolish military provocative act,” Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, published in a commentary.
In contemplating responses to North Korea’s threats, Trump has asserted that all options are on the table, including a military strike, although officials contend that tougher sanctions are the preferred strategy.
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North Korea threatens U.S. ship