Published: Mon, April 03, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

US will act unilaterally on North Korea if necessary


"There is a real possibility that North Korea will be able to hit the USA with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of the first Trump term", KT McFarland, deputy White House national security adviser, was quoted as telling the Financial Times in a separate interview.

The designation came as concerns about Pyongyang's chemical weapons have risen in the wake of revelations that the nerve gas VX was used in the killing of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Malaysia last month.

Trump's ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, also offered tough talk on China, saying on ABC's This Week that the U.S.is pressing China to take a firmer stand regarding North Korea's nuclear program.

"North Korea continues to sabotage inter-Korean relations and its own economic cooperation with other countries through its repeated provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons".

Asked what incentive the U.S. had to offer China, Trump replied: "Trade is the incentive".

SEOUL-South Korea's national women's soccer team will travel to North Korea next month to compete in the women's Asian Cup qualifying rounds.

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In a separate interview, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the United States is looking to China to take action against North Korea. "We don't want a situation where outside trade and other investment ties with North Korea permit them to continue working on these programs to build the world's most awful weapons", said the official. The two are expected to discuss a number of issues, including North Korea, trade and territorial disputes in the South China Sea during their meeting on Thursday and Friday. Nuclear-armed North Korea launched four ballistic missiles on March 6, 2017 in another challenge to President Donald Trump, with three landing provocatively close to America's ally Japan. As Tanaka observes, "the loophole involving border trade with China is essentially an open secret".

According to Woolsey and Pry, the CIA's top East Asia analyst publicly confirmed in 2008 that Pyongyang had successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead and tested it using the Nodong medium-range ballistic missile.

In addition to the deployment of nuclear weapons on one of its short-to-medium-range missiles capable of striking South Korea or Japan - where tens of thousands of US service members are deployed - there's worry about the KN08.

Trump has said that the Chinese can solve the problem "very easily if they want to". Additionally, OFAC sanctioned one entity, the Paeksol Trading Corporation based in North Korea.

Former defence secretary Ash Carter, however, said he doubted that Beijing will co-operate. Because the rogue state just might feel it necessary to fire the first shot in what might be seen as an inevitable escalation towards military confrontation.

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