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Trump Considering 'Pretty Severe' Response To North Korea's ICBM Test

  • RFE/RL

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) is shown reportedly celebrating the successful test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in this photograph released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on July 5.

U.S. President Donald Trump says he is considering "some pretty severe things" in response to North Korea's intercontinental ballistic-missile (ICBM) test earlier this week.

Speaking in Warsaw on July 6, Trump called on all nations to confront North Korea's "very, very bad behavior."

The remarks were Trump's first public comments on the issue since North Korea tested an ICBM on July 4.

Trump declined to offer specifics about what a U.S. response might entail, though he called North Korea a "threat" and said the United States would "confront it very strongly."

"It's a shame that they're behaving this way," Trump said of North Korea's leaders. "But they are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner, and something will have to be done about it."

Late on July 5, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the United States would use its “considerable military forces” on North Korea “if we must.”

“The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies,” Haley told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on July 5.

“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces,” Haley said. “We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction.”

Haley described North Korea’s ICBM test as a sharp military escalation and she threatened to respond with further trade restrictions, including moves to cut off trade with other countries that do business with Pyongyang in violation of UN resolutions.

"We will not look exclusively at North Korea,” she said. “We will look at any country that chooses to do business with this outlaw regime.”

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told the BBC on July 6 that North Korea’s ICBM test was “reckless” and illegal and that it is important for the world to stand together against Pyongyang’s actions.

Johnson said China must take additional steps against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests.

"What the North Koreans are doing is reckless, it's indefensible, it's in defiance of UN resolutions," Johnson said ahead of a July 7-8 Group of 20 summit in Hamburg.

"The single most important thing is that the country with the most direct economic relationship with North Korea, that is China, has got to continue to put on the pressure,” Johnson said. “In the last six months or so we are seeing some real changes in Beijing's attitude to North Korea and that's got to go further."

Haley told the 15-member UN Security Council that the United States will soon present a new resolution calling for further sanctions on North Korea.

The ambassadors of France and Britain said they would back a new resolution strengthening sanctions against North Korea.

Russia condemned North Korea’s actions but told the Security Council that it opposes further sanctions or any military force against Pyongyang.

Russia's deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, said a compromise between North Korea and Washington is needed to ease tensions.

But North Korea has said it would not negotiate unless the United States ended what Pyongyang called a “hostile policy.”

China's UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, also condemned North Korea’s ICBM launch, calling it a "flagrant violation" of UN resolutions and "unacceptable."

But he said Beijing -- North Korea's only ally -- opposes the use of military force.

Liu called on “all the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions, and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue and work actively together to defuse the tension."

With reporting by BBC, Reuters, AP, AFP, TASS, CNN, and Interfax
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