WARSAW • United States President Donald Trump has warned that he is considering a "pretty severe" response to North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, even as China appealed for a scaling down of rhetoric.
Tuesday's launch marked a milestone in Pyongyang's decades-long drive to threaten the US mainland with a nuclear strike, posing a thorny policy challenge for Mr Trump, who is at loggerheads with Beijing over how to handle Mr Kim Jong Un's regime.
"I call on all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behaviour," Mr Trump said during a visit to Polish capital Warsaw yesterday.
"I have pretty severe things that we're thinking about," Mr Trump said, adding: "That doesn't mean that we'll do them."
In a hard-hitting address, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Wednesday the ICBM test had made "the world a more dangerous place", reiterating that Washington was ready to use force if need be and singling out China as key to any diplomatic solution.
"We will work with China," Ms Haley said. "But we will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that have brought us to this dark day."
The US has pushed for tougher sanctions on North Korea at the United Nations Security Council, warning that the isolated regime's launch of the ICBM - which experts say has a range capable of reaching Alaska - had drastically narrowed the path for diplomacy.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will be attending tomorrow's G-20 summit with Mr Trump in Hamburg, said China was committed to de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but stressed this could best be achieved through dialogue and negotiations, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Stepping up its harangue yesterday, Pyongyang warned it would be a "piece of cake" to destroy "gangster" South Korea, as it raged against Seoul for a joint missile drill with the US following its landmark ICBM test.
Mocking the South as "puppet military gangsters", state media Korean Central News Agency said yesterday: "It will be as easy as a piece of cake for the (North) to wipe out the puppet forces... as we are now able to destroy even the US mainland across the ocean."
The drill, which US Pacific Command called an "ironclad" show of resolve, saw the US Army and South Korean military firing missiles off the eastern coast of South Korea.
South Korean President Moon Jae In, who has advocated dialogue with the North in order to bring it to the negotiating table, said yesterday a dialogue was more pressing than ever and a peace treaty to permanently end the Korean War must be signed by all parties to establish lasting peace on the peninsula.
Mr Moon said in a speech in Berlin that the North made a disappointing and misguided decision to conduct the ballistic missile test and it now faces the last chance to make the right choice.
"We do not wish for the collapse of North Korea and we will not pursue any form of unification by absorbing the other. We will not pursue unification by force," he said.
The two Koreas remain in a technical state of war under an armistice ending the 1950-1953 Korean War, signed by the North, the US and China.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST
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