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Nikki Haley warns countries abetting North Korean aggression in U.N. speech

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley blasted countries who still traded with North Korea, saying that the U.S. would begin punishing them economically. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot)

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned that North Korea would be in danger of military retaliation if it continued its aggressive acts, but pointed to other options the Trump administration had before them.

"Make no mistake, North Korea's launch of an ICBM is a clear and sharp military escalation," she said in a fiery speech before the United Nations Wednesday.

"The North Korean regime openly states that its missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, South Korea and Japan," she explained. "And now it has greater capacity to do so."

"In truth," she continued, "it is not only the United States and our allies that are threatened. North Korea's destabilizing escalation is a threat to all nations in the region and beyond. Their actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution. The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies.

"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.

"We have other methods of addressing those who threaten us," she explained, "and of addressing those who supply the threats. We have great capabilities in the area of trade. President Trump has spoken repeatedly about this. I spoke with him at length about it this morning. There are countries that are allowing, even encouraging, trade with North Korea in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions."

"Such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United States," Haley continued.

"That's not gonna happen," she said declaratively. "Our attitude on trade changes when do not take international security threats seriously."

President Donald Trump appeared to confirm Haley's warning when he tweeted this morning about the economic options before the United States in dealing with North Korea.

"Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter," the president tweeted. "So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!"

In campaign speeches before the election, then-candidate Trump had suggested pressuring China to force North Korea to de-escalate the situation in the Korean peninsula. After touting initial success with diminished coal shipments from North Korea to China in exchange for improved trade, the president later concluded the deal was a failure.

North Korea test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile Tuesday, which it claimed could reach Alaska. U.S. officials confirmed many of their claims, but said they did not yet consider their missile capabilities a threat.

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