Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, says North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is “begging for war” amid intelligence reports that another missile launch is imminent.
Ms Haley on Tuesday morning (AEST) urged the 15-member UN Security Council to adopt the strongest possible measures to deter Kim.
“War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory,” she said.
“The United States will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country that is giving aid to their reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions.”
The fresh warning comes after South Korea said its intelligence services detected preparations in North Korea for the launch another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches. We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Chang Kyung-soo, a defence ministry official, told a parliament hearing on Monday.
Seoul is preparing for more military drills with its ally the US and is ramping up its ballistic missile defences in response to North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
A shallow, 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook North Korea on Sunday with Pyongyang later saying it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that possessed “great destructive power”.
South Korean defence minister Song Young-moo has asked the US to consider deploying tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula to guard against the North.
The Washington post reported that Song asked his US counterpart, Jim Mattis, during talks at the Pentagon last week for strategic assets including US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and B-52 bombers to be sent to South Korea more regularly.
US President Donald Trump has asked to be briefed on all available military options, Mr Mattis said.
China, a top trading partner with North Korea, and Russia called for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.
“China will never allow chaos and war on the (Korean) Peninsula,” Liu Jieyi, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations said.
Ms Haley said the United States will circulate a new Security Council resolution on North Korea this week and wants a vote on it next Monday.
South Korea’s defence ministry, meanwhile, said it would temporarily deploy the four remaining launchers for a major new US missile defence system after the completion of an environmental assessment by the government.
The rollout of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, vehemently opposed by neighbouring China, had been delayed since June.
South Korea’s air force and army conducted exercises involving long-range air-to-surface and ballistic missiles on Monday following Sunday’s nuclear test, the joint chiefs of staff said in a statement. More drills were being prepared with US forces in the South, it said.
Turnbull to meet Trump and Abe
Diplomats have said the UN Security Council could now consider banning Pyongyang’s textile exports and the North’s national airline, stop supplies of oil to the government and military, prevent North Koreans from working abroad and add top officials to a blacklist to subject them to an asset freeze and travel ban.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Japanese counterpart have agreed to meet Donald Trump “at the soonest opportunity” to discuss the crisis.
Mr Turnbull and Japan’s Shinzo Abe have spoken on the phone, while Defence Minister Marise Payne will leave for talks in South Korea on Wednesday.
“I am very concerned that they are endangering regional security and stability and that their behaviour is both provocative and destructive,” Senator Payne told ABC radio on Monday.
United States Defence Secretary James Mattis has warned of “a massive military response” to any threat from North Korea against the US or its allies.
Mr Turnbull also denounced North Korea over its latest nuclear test, saying it represents the “most dangerous moment” on the peninsula since the end of the Korean war.
“This is the most dangerous moment in time on the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean war,” Mr Turnbull told Parliament.
“Much is at stake. The conduct of this regime, the reckless and illegal conduct of this regime, cannot be rewarded.”
While North Korea claimed it was a hydrogen bomb, this was not yet confirmed.
North Korea’s actions also a slap to China
China is hosting an economic conference this week – involving Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa – which President Xi Jinping sees as a demonstration of its international leadership.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said “unprecedented pressure” should be brought to bear on North Korea including sanctions on the country’s foreign trade bank, a block on remittances, and bans on coal, iron ore and seafood.
– with agencies