The United States will further strengthen sanctions on North Korea and go after third-country entities supporting the communist regime, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday.
Speaking before an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council convened to discuss the North's latest missile test, Haley also said that the U.S. is willing to hold talks with Pyongyang, "but not until we see a total stop of the nuclear progress and of any test there."
"We want to look at the current sanctions in place and we want to look at strengthening the sanctions. And the United States is not past looking at third country entities who are helping North Korea and putting sanctions on them because if you're supporting North Korea, you're against the rest of the international community," Haley said.
Tuesday's meeting came a day after the council adopted a press statement condemning the North's missile launch. The test was seen as a demonstration of considerable progress the North has made in its pursuit of development of an continental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S.
Haley warned of sanctions against those supporting Pyongyang.
"If you are a country that is supplying or supporting North Korea, we will call you out on it. We will make sure everyone knows who you are and we will target those sanctions towards you as well."
The U.S. will ramp up pressure on the North in every possible way, Haley said.
"We're going to make sure we put the pressure on them economically, diplomatically, politically, and internationally and in any way that we need to," she said. "We are going to send a very strong unified message to North Korea that the international community wants to support you, but as long as you test, as long as you continue your nuclear program, you're on an island by yourself."
Haley said the North is "more than just a problem" and "a true threat to every country in the world."
"What you have is a leader who is paranoid. He thinks we're trying to have regime change. He thinks there is people trying to assassinate him. We're not trying to do any of those things," she said. "What we are saying is for peace on the Korean Peninsula, he has to stop his testing, he has to stop any nuclear program that he has."
Haley also reaffirmed the security commitment to South Korea and Japan.
"We will continue to have their backs. We're going to continue all of our military exercises with South Korea because we think it's important in order to protect them," she said.
South Korean Ambassador Cho Tae-yul said the North's missile launch came just a few days after the inauguration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and the new administration is firmly committed to the North's denuclearization.
"Obviously Pyongyang, with this missile launch, tried to test the resolve of our new government in its pursuit of denuclearization of North Korea. But our response remains as firm as ever," Cho said.
"At the meeting of the National Security Council convened immediately after the North Korean provocation, President Moon, our new president, made it clear that he will resolutely respond to whatever provocation by North Korea and that a dialogue is possible only if and when there is a change in North Korea's behavior," he sid.
Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho also called for further pressure on Pyongyang.
"The important thing is we need to put further pressure on North Korea to make them feel that they have to change course," he said. "Change has to come from North Korea, not us. We will continue our course. As you can see, the three countries, the United States, ROK and Japan are standing together." (Yonhap)