North Korea raised the stakes on Tuesday when it tested a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) its news agency claimed is capable of hitting the “heart of the United States” with “large heavy nuclear warheads.”
“I guess they are not too happy with the gift package we sent them for the occasion of their Independence Day. We should often send them gift packages so they won’t be too bored,” North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un told Korean Central News Agency.
The Hwasong-14 ICBM reached an altitude of about 1,741 miles (2,802 kilometres) and flew 579 miles (933 kilometres) for 39 minutes before hitting a target area on the sea off the east coast, according to North Korea.The missile was fired to a high altitude, but on a normal trajectory, it could strike at targets approximately 4,160 miles away.
US officials confirmed the statement, saying the device could reach Alaska. North Korea’s atomic and missile programs violate international law and are subject to United Nations sanctions.
US President Donald Trump requested a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in response to North Korea’s missile test. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke at the meeting, warning that North Korea was “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution”.
“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction,” Haley said.
As a next-to final resort, Haley suggested extreme sanctions.
“The international community can cut off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime. We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons programs. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable,” Haley said.
Haley noted that much of the blame for North Korean actions was placed on China.
President Trump is currently in Poland on a diplomatic visit but addressed the issue at a press conference on Thursday.
“It’s a shame they’re behaving this way. They’re behaving in a very, very dangerous manner and something will have to be done about it,” said President Trump. “I have some pretty severe things that we are thinking about. That doesn’t mean we are going to do it. I don’t draw red lines.”