U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Friday that if diplomacy fails on North Korea, she has no problem letting Secretary of Defense James Mattis take the fight to Pyongyang.
“I have no problem kicking it to General Mattis,” Haley said at a White House press conference, explaining that despite diplomatic efforts and strong UN sanctions, the North Koreans “continue to be provocative.”
The U.S., together with its international partners, has been pursuing a diplomatic solution to the North Korea problem while maintaining that “all options are on the table.” The Trump administration has repeatedly demonstrated that it is willing to exhaust all diplomatic options before applying military force, but the diplomatic window appears to be closing.
“We’re out of time,” White House National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster said. “There is a military option.” McMaster clarified that the military option is not the preferred choice, but North Korea is not responding to international pressure.
North Korea kicked off September with a test of a suspected staged thermonuclear bomb, specifically a hydrogen bomb, and early Friday, the regime launched a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile for the second time in a month. The Hwasong-12 IRBM, like North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM is believed to be capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.
In the North’s most recent test, it demonstrated the ability to hit Guam, home to more than 100,000 civilians and numerous U.S. strategic military assets.
The UN Security Council imposed the “strongest sanctions ever” on North Korea Monday, putting intense pressure on the regime. “We have strangled their economic situation,” Haley said, explaining that there is no way North Korea will not feel the impact of the latest sanctions, which cut off 90 percent of all North Korean exports.
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