At U.N., Nikki Haley Demands ‘Strongest Possible Measures’ Against North Korea

North Korea has declared itself a thermonuclear power, after carrying out a sixth nuclear test more powerful than any it has previously detonated
AFP Ed Jones

UNITED NATIONS—U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, in an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council Monday, called for the ‘strongest possible measures’ against North Korea and announced that the U.S. will be circulating a new resolution for a vote next week.

The session was called after North Korea’s test Sunday of what appeared to be its most powerful hydrogen bomb to date. The session saw unanimous condemnation of the test, with multiple nations noting that the regime is the only country to conduct such a test in the 21st century.

The Council slapped sanctions on North Korean exports in August in a move predicted to slash its exports by a third. However, there has been no letdown in aggression from the communist dictatorship, with the latest test coming on the back of a missile launch over Japan last week.

The U.S. and its allies used the session to push for more robust sanctions, with Haley promising that the U.S. will be circulating a draft in the next few days, eyeing a vote next Monday. The U.S. mission gave no indication about what would be in the resolution, but sanctions on oil and textiles have been floated as possible targets by diplomats in recent weeks.

Haley told the Council that while it has recently spoken “with unusual unity and consistency” it has also been at times “too slow and too weak.”

“Enough is enough,” she said. “We have taken an incremental approach, and despite best of intentions, it has not worked.”

She added that it was vital to exhaust all diplomatic measures before it was too late and called for the “strongest possible measures” against the regime, but also did not rule out military action, noting that Kim Jong-un is “begging for war.”

“War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory,” she said.

Haley’s stance was echoed in particular by the United Kingdom and France, with French Ambassador François Delattre backing the call for a sanctions resolution and warning the Council that “our credibility is at stake.”

Russia and China—veto-wielding members of the Council—continued their opposition to more sanctions, calling instead for the adoption of a roadmap written up by the two countries.

That roadmap includes a “freeze-for-freeze,” whereby North Korea de-escalates its missile tests in exchange for the scaling back of military exercises by South Korea and the U.S., and also emphasizes a return to negotiations via the Six Party Talks.

At the session, China called on all parties to “play their due roles and take practical measures” to ease the situation and restart talks.

“China will never allow chaos and war on the [Korean] Peninsula,” Ambassador Liu Jieyi said.

Russia, while saying it was “deeply troubled” by the test, said that military options were not the answer to the crisis, and called on all parties to “maintain a cool head and refrain from action that could escalate tensions.”

After the session, Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya was lukewarm on future sanctions and told reporters that multiple sanctions resolutions had so far not worked. He reiterated his call for a return to negotiation and dialogue and when asked if he would support the U.S.-drafted resolution said, “We will see what it says.”

Haley and U.S. allies, however, appeared to have no time for the Russo-Chinese roadmap. U.K. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft urged the Council to “stay the course” on the sanctions route, while Haley called the proposal of a freeze-for-freeze “insulting.”

“When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an ICBM pointed at you you do not take steps to lower your guard,” Haley said. “No one would do that. We certainly won’t.”

“We have kicked the can down the road long enough,” she added. “There is no more road left.”

Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter:  @AdamShawNY