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U.S. to tighten the screws on Kim Jong Un

Posted May. 16, 2017 07:23,   

Updated May. 16, 2017 07:29


United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted North Korea’s attempted ballistic launch and said, “Until he (Kim Jong Un) meets our conditions (for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula), we (the U.S.) are not sitting down with him.”

In an interview with ABC News on Sunday, Haley was asked to specify the right circumstances that President Donald Trump mentioned. Mr. Trump said in the past that he would be willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances." Haley answered, “A missile test is not the way (for them) to sit down with the president.” Her answer is interpreted that the first priority for North Korea is to take preemptive measures such as the abolition of its missile test and nuclear program and Washington will not engage in dialogue with Pyongyang before the North takes such action.

Haley said that the test appeared to be intended to send a message to South Korea days after new President Moon Jae-in took office. “He (Kim Jong Un) is in a state of paranoia. He’s incredibly concerned about anything and everything around him," she said. "Washington will continue to tighten the screws (on North Korea) We (the U.S.) are going to continue, whether it’s sanctions, whether it’s press statements, anything that we have to do. He (Kim Jong Un) feels it (the pressure of tightening screws)."

Sources tell that the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday (local time) in New York headquarters to discuss about countermeasures on North Korea’s ballistic missile launch. This meeting is convened at the request of South Korea and two permanent members of the U.S. and Japan, and people are paying attention to whether or not the council decides to heighten sanctions against North Korea.

In the meanwhile, the Hill, an American political journalism newspaper specializing in reports on Congress, said that Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) will unveil a bill that would increase the number of anti-missile systems in Alaska and in California and the West Coast. The bill asks for 28 additional Ground-Based Interceptors in the two regions, increasing by more than 30 percent the number of interceptors currently in the U.S.

In an interview on Sunday, Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said that the North's recent launch of intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) may indeed represent a new missile with a long range and it is definitely concerning as it is in between mid-range missile and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com · Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com