Trump administration ‘not playing around’ on North Korea

U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley praised new sanctions against North Korea as a sign that the international community is seriously addressing the threat of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

"It is time for North Korea to realize, we are not playing anymore," Haley said on Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo."

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The sanctions largely target North Korea's major exports such as coal, iron and seafood, Haley said.

"A third of their trade exports have been hit, and we basically gave them a kick in the gut with a billion dollars of sanctions that they are going to begin to feel right away," she continued, adding that the measure "sends a really strong message."

The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on Saturday that would slap the new sanctions on North Korea in retaliation for its repeated ballistic missile testing and continued efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

The former South Carolina governor said North Korea now has a big decision to make.

"They can either respond by pulling back and saying that they are not going to be a part of this reckless activity anymore or they can see where it goes.

“And we'll continue to keep up the strength, and keep up the activity and make sure that we stop them," Haley added.

Haley was echoing national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who on Saturday said the regime is a very real threat to the world.

"I think it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with this," McMaster told MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt in an interview that aired Saturday.

"I think it's impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime.”

The UN sanctions follow North Korea's two recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the most recent of which took place last week. Analysts say those ICBMs could be capable of striking parts of the U.S.

The Trump administration sees North Korea's nuclear program as a top national security threat to the U.S. 

McMaster indicated this weekend that military action against the regime is an option.  

"If they had nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States, it's intolerable from the president's perspective. Of course, we have to provide all options to do that, and that includes a military option," he told MSNBC.

President Trump – who was critical of the UN on the campaign trail -- praised the United Nations Security Council on Saturday for voting to support the new sanctions on North Korea, after he signed a measure this week imposing new sanctions there, as well as targeting Russia and Iran.

"The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!" Trump tweeted.

"United Nations Resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever on North Korea. Over one billion dollars in cost to [North Korea]," he added.

China’s vote to support the sanctions is a sign that the international community is on-board with a stricter stance toward the North Korean regime.

China also reportedly urged Pyongyang to stop missile and nuclear tests in the wake of the increased sanctions.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said while meeting with North Korea's top diplomat that the country should “maintain calm," The Associated Press reported Sunday.

“Do not violate the U.N.’s decision or provoke international society’s goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests,” Wang added.

Haley praised China last week for supporting the additional sanctions -- a move that the U.S. sees as a promising sign Beijing will work to put further pressure on Pyongyang.

China's action appeared to please the White House.

Trump had vocally called on China to step up its efforts to rein in the regime last week, taking to Twitter to express his disappointment with the nation for doing "nothing." 

 

 

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used a ceremony Sunday marking the anniversary of the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima as an opportunity to call for the international community to work towards a denuclearized world, NPR reported.

“As the only country to be irradiated in war,” Abe said Japan would “firmly advance the movement toward a world without nuclear weapons,” The New York Times reported.

When asked by a reporter if the nation whose constitution renounces war should acquire the means to strike North Korean missile sites, Abe did not rule out the option.

“At the present time, we are not planning any specific deliberations about possessing," such capabilities, Abe said, according to the Times.

But generally, he added, Japan should increase its defense plan “given that the security situation surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe.”

Updated 3:50 p.m.