The United States warned the North Korean leadership that it would “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out, after Pyongyang test fired its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range.
The Trump administration has repeatedly said all options were on the table in dealing with North Korea, including military ones, but has said it still prefers a diplomatic option.
Still, speaking at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley warned: “If war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”
Haley said the United States has asked China to cut off oil supply to North Korea. U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to halt North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier on Wednesday.
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China is North Korea’s sole major ally and they share a long border and significant trade.
“We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it. If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday,” Haley said.
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North Korea said the new missile soared to an altitude of about 4,475 km (2,780 miles) – more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station – and flew 950 km (590 miles) during its 53-minute flight.
It flew higher and longer than any North Korean missile before, landing in the sea near Japan. Experts said the new “Hwasong-15” missile theoretically gave North Korea the ability to hit the United States, including the East Coast, although it was not clear whether it could carry a nuclear weapon.
North Korea, which conducted its sixth and largest nuclear bomb test in September, has tested dozens of ballistic missiles under Kim’s leadership in defiance of international sanctions.