Donald Trump issues new warning to North Korea
US president says his nation ‘will never be intimidated’ after Pyongyang missile launch
US president Donald Trump speaks to members of the military at Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Speaking to military personnel at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Friday en route to his New Jersey golf club, Mr Trump said that North Korea had “once again shown its utter contempt for its neighbours and the entire world community”.
The US president was speaking after North Korea launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan, its 15th missile test this year.
The missile was launched at 6.23am local time on Friday morning from Pyongyang airport, landing approximately 2,000km east of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The launch prompted the Japanese government to send alerts to its citizens via text message and TV channels, urging people to take cover in a building or underground.
South Korea launched a ballistic missile drill in response to the latest provocation by Pyongyang.
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Friday in New York to discuss the crisis, though no further sanctions were expected to be agreed.
The Security Council passed its most stringent package of sanctions against North Korea yet on Monday, in response to claims by the nuclear power that it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
The measures included new sanctions on oil and fuel sales to the country, though the package fell short of imposing a full oil embargo, as had been favoured by the US.
On Friday, US national security adviser HR McMaster warned that the US was reaching its limits in terms of sanctions and diplomacy as it deals with the North Korean nuclear threat.
But he said that while the US did have a “military option”, it was not the preferred route, adding that the US is keen to work with allies on measures “short of war”.
‘Running out of options’
Speaking to reporters alongside US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at a press conference in the White House, McMaster, the nation’s top security chief, said the US was running out of options on North Korea.
“We’ve been kicking the can down the road and we’re out of road. And so for those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option,” he said, “[but] it is not what we prefer to do.”
His comments were echoed by Ms Haley, who said the US had plenty of options in dealing with North Korea.
“They continue to be provocative, they continue to be reckless,” she said, noting that there were limits to what the Security Council could do “when you cut 90 per cent of the trade and 30 per cent of the oil”, referring to the latest round of sanctions.
“I have no problem kicking it to [defence secretary] Gen [James] Mattis, because I think he has plenty of options,” she said.
North Korea is likely to top the agenda of next week’s meeting of the UN General Assembly. Mr Trump is due to address the session on Tuesday.
The US has been increasing pressure on Russia and China to do more to contain Pyongyang’s nuclear threat, with secretary of state Rex Tillerson urging both countries to take “direct action” against North Korea.
China provides most of the oil to North Korea, while Russia uses North Korean labour. Both countries have been the focus of US efforts to rein in the regime of Kim Jong-un.