Ha­ley: ‘Closer to war’ after mis­sile launch

The Columbus Dispatch - - Nation&world - By Matthew Pen­ning­ton and Kim Tong-Hyung

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley said Wed­nes­day that North Korea’s launch of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile that some ob­servers think could reach Wash­ing­ton and the en­tire Eastern Seaboard “brings us closer” to a war the U.S. doesn’t seek.

Ha­ley, speak­ing at an emer­gency meet­ing of the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, said that if war comes as a re­sult of fur­ther acts of “ag­gres­sion” like Tues­day’s launch, “make no mis­take the North Korean regime will be ut­terly de­stroyed.”

“The dic­ta­tor of North Korea made a de­ci­sion yes­ter­day that brings us closer to war, not far­ther from it,” Ha­ley said. “We have never sought war with North Korea and still to­day we do not seek it.”

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion Wed­nes­day threat­ened new sanc­tions on North Korea after the reclu­sive govern­ment shat­tered 2 months of rel­a­tive quiet with its most-pow­er­ful weapon test yet.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted that he spoke with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping about Py­ongyang’s “provoca­tive ac­tions” and vowed that “ad­di­tional ma­jor sanc­tions will be im­posed on North Korea to­day. This sit­u­a­tion will be han­dled!” Trump’s top di­plo­mat, Rex Tiller­son, said the U.S. could tar­get fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions do­ing busi­ness with the North.

At the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing, China’s deputy U.N. am­bas­sador Wu Haitao re­it­er­ated the China-Rus­sia pro­posal for North Korea to sus­pend all nu­clear and mis­sile tests and for the U.S. and South Korea to sus­pend all mil­i­tary ex­er­cises.

Wed­nes­day, Trump could not re­sist tak­ing a dig at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Di­gress­ing dur­ing a speech in Mis­souri on tax re­form, Trump called Kim “Lit­tle Rocket Man” and de­scribed him as “a sick puppy.”

If flown on a stan­dard tra­jec­tory, in­stead of Wed­nes­day’s lofted an­gle, North Korea’s lat­est mis­sile would have a range of more than 8,100 miles, said U.S. sci­en­tist David Wright, a physi­cist who closely tracks North Korea’s mis­sile and nu­clear pro­grams. “Such a mis­sile would have more than enough range to reach Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and in fact any part of the con­ti­nen­tal United States,” Wright wrote in a blog post for the Union for Con­cerned Sci­en­tists.

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