North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has to give up his nuclear weapons, the White House has said, days after US President Donald Trump hinted at launching a possible military strike against the North.
Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said in an interview with ABC News on Sunday that North Korea must denuclearize, because the United States cannot tolerate this.
“He’s going to have to give up his nuclear weapons, because the president has said that he is not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon,” said McMaster, an Army three-star general.
When asked if the US president would order a military strike against North Korea if Kim doesn’t surrender his weapons, McMaster said, “He’s been very clear about that, that all options are on the table.”
US should move ‘with a great deal of urgency’
In a separate interview with Fox News on Sunday, McMaster said that North Korea is close to threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon.
He added the US should move “with a great deal of urgency” in order to deal with the North Korean threat.
“We really have to move with a great deal of urgency, on sanctions, on diplomacy and on preparing, if necessary, a military option,” McMaster said.
McMaster was also asked about Trump’s tweet in which the US president referred to North Korea’s leader as “Rocket Man.”
“I spoke with President Moon [Jae-in] of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!” Trump tweeted.
He said that’s “a new one” for President Trump, who previously called Kim a “pretty smart cookie.”
“Of course that’s where the rockets are coming from,” McMaster said, before adding that people shouldn’t laugh about rockets because they are dangerous.
‘We have economically strangled North Korea’
Earlier in the day, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned North Korea would be “destroyed” if it “keeps on with this reckless behavior.”
“We have economically strangled North Korea at this point,” Haley said.
“We wanted to be responsible and go through all diplomatic means to get their attention first,” Haley told CNN. “If that doesn’t work, General Mattis will take care of it.”
On Monday, the UN Security Council voted to adopt new sanctions against North Korea over its missile and nuclear activities. The resolution, drafted by the US, was the eighth against Pyongyang over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.
The North Korean leader ordered the production of more rocket warheads and engines last month, shortly after the United States suggested that its threats of military action and sanctions were having an impact on Pyongyang’s behavior.
North Korea’s leader says the country seeks “equilibrium” of military force with the US.
Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.