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US warns N. Korea of ‘total destruction’, calls for China’s leadership 

United Nations, Nov 30 (IANS) Warning that if it comes to war, North Korea will be “totally destroyed”, the US has called on China to show leadership and cut off oil supplies to pressure Pyongyang following its latest missile test.

US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley told the Council on Wednesday that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was bringing “the world closer to war” through his missile and nuclear provocations.

“We have never sought war with North Korea,” she said. “And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

Haley said that many countries have made economic sacrifices to enforce strict sanctions against North Korea and put the main task of containing Pyongyang on China’s shoulders.

“We now turn to (China’s) President Xi (Jinping) to also take that stand,” she said. “China must show leadership and follow through.”

Haley said that President Donald Trump had called Xi and asked him cut off oil supplies to North Korea. “China can do this on its own or we can take the oil situation into our own hands,” she added.

Explaining the importance of an oil embargo, she said that when China cut off oil supplies that country in 2003, Pyongyang came to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, Trump’s Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters: “We’ll see future actions by the US and others and we’re looking forward to applying as much pressure as we can to get to our ultimate goal, which is a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.”

At the Council meeting convened at the request of the US, Japan and South Korea, Under Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman said the missile launched on Wednesday had travelled about 950 kilometres before falling into the sea in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. 

“The parameters indicate that if flown on a standard trajectory, the missile as configured would have had a range in excess of 13,000 kilometres,” he added.

There was unanimity at the Council in condemning the missile test, but not on the actions to be taken against Pyongyang.

“Japan will never tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea,” the country’s Permanent Representative Koro Bessho said.

China’s Deputy Permanent Representative Wu Haitao in effect rejected any new sanctions suggested by Haley, saying that Beijing was committed to finding a diplomatic solution that would not impact the North Korean people.

He urged the acceptance of a proposal made jointly by China and Russia that would require North Korea to suspend nuclear activity and the US and South Korea to halt joint military exercises in order to pave the way for talks.

Russia’s Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia said the latest missile test was cause for “deep disappointment” but accused the US and its allies of provoking Pyongyang with unplanned military manoeuvres and unilateral sanctions.

Trump kept the war of words going while speaking at a meeting in Missouri ridiculing Kim as a “sick puppy” and “little rocket man”.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in)

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