WORLD US says trade its chosen weapon
THE US vowed yesterday to use military force to defend the country and its allies against a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile if necessary, but said it preferred to use its clout in international trade to address the growing threat.
In a hard- hitting speech at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council following Pyongyang’s successful launch of an ICBM, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said that “the world has become a more dangerous place” and China has a key role in promoting peace.
China is responsible for 90 per cent of trade with North Korea and Ms Haley warned Beijing risks its massive trade with the US if its business dealings with Pyongyang violate UN sanctions.
She said the US did not seek conflict – “in fact we seek to avoid it”. But she said the launch of an ICBM “is a clear and sharp military escalation” and the US was prepared to use its “considerable military forces” to defend itself and its allies “if we must”.
But Ms Haley said the Trump administration preferred “not to go in that direction” but to use its “great capabilities in the area of trade” to address “those who threaten us and ... those who supply the threats”.
China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, did not respond to Ms Haley. Instead, he strongly urged North Korea to stop “any rhetoric and action that might further exacerbate the tension of the Korean Peninsula”. Mr Trump has expressed growing irritation at Beijing’s reluctance to tighten the screws on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.
“There are countries that are allowing, even encouraging trade with North Korea, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Ms Haley said.
“Such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United States. That’s not going to happen. Our attitude on trade changes when countries do not take international security threats seriously.”
Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov echoed the call for “restraint rather than provocation and warmongering”.
Ms Haley said the seven UN sanctions resolutions had not got North Korea to change its “destructive course,” and she stressed that much of the burden of enforcing the resolutions rested with China because of its overwhelming trade with its neighbour.
She said the US would put forward a new Security Council resolution in coming days.