North Korea faces increased pressure, as US hints at military options | News | DW | 18.09.2017
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


North Korea faces increased pressure, as US hints at military options

The United States is pushing for diplomacy with North Korea, but has said it has "many" military options against Pyongyang. While pledging to work with China, it has hinted at tactics that would not put Seoul at risk.

The US and China on Monday vowed to increase diplomatic pressure on North Korea, but the US maintained it had defense options.

US President Donald Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about North Korea's "continued defiance of the international community," the White House said in a statement on Monday.

The two leaders "committed to maximizing pressure on North Korea through vigorous enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions," the statement said. 

Read more: Why China won't help US against North Korea

Meanwhile, the chairman of the US Senate's East Asia subcommittee wrote to China and 20 other nations, asking them to cut ties with North Korea, close down its diplomatic outposts and help oust the country from the United Nations.

Mexico, Spain expel diplomats

US Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday insisted diplomatic efforts were bearing fruit, pointing to Mexico's expulsion of the North Korean ambassador in Mexico City.

Also on Monday, the North Korean ambassador to Spain was asked to leave the country within two weeks in protest of Pyongyang's nuclear tests, the Spanish Foreign Ministry announced on Twitter.

But North Korea has claimed that last week's fresh round of sanctions and diplomatic pressure would only encourage its continued defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

"The increased moves of the US and its vassal forces to impose sanctions and pressure on the DPRK will only increase our pace towards the ultimate completion of the state nuclear force," said a statement on the North Korean state media.

The latest sanctions limit shipments of crude and refined oil products, but they fall short of an embargo.

Read more: US, South Korea agree to 'stronger' sanctions against North Korea

US threatens military action

The US has refused to limit itself to non-violent efforts to curb Pyongyang's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile program, also hinting at military options.

On Sunday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the Security Council had run out of options and that the US might have to hand control to the Pentagon.

Defense chief Mattis dropped hints to journalists on Monday about the possible existence of military options that would spare Seoul from any counterattacks, but did not specify what those options might involve. North Korea is thought to have an artillery array pointed at Seoul as well as stockpiles of conventional, chemical and biological weapons.

Show of force

Mattis also confirmed that the US and South Korea were considering returning US nuclear weapons to the peninsula after removing them at the close of the Cold War.

The US military announced Monday that it had held bombing drills with South Korea, flying a pair of B-1B bombers and F-35 fighter jets over the Korean peninsula.

Read more: Things to know about international military exercises

The North Korea crisis will likely dominate the UN General Assembly in New York this week. Trump is set to discuss the issue with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday.

Kim Jong Un 'not crazy'

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, meanwhile, has urged the international community to engage in direct talks with North Korea, in an interview with German tabloid Bild. Gabriel said direct talks involving North Korea, the US, China and Russia should offer Pyongyang "a security guarantee other than the nuclear bomb."

Read more: Gabriel calls for 'pressure and dialogue' to deal with North Korea

He said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "not crazy," and that "he is following a coldly calculated strategy: he thinks that if he has a nuclear bomb, his regime is safe. Because no one will dare to threaten him."

aw/cmk (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

Watch video 01:04

China: N. Korea's last major trading partner

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic