Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Australians warned as North Korea threat looms

North Korea nuclear test provocative – Putin Australians warned as North Korea threat looms
Howard Terry | 11 September, 2017, 00:40

"The two leaders resolved to continue working closely together on increasing diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea, and to call on others to do the same".

The White House also released details of the call on Tuesday with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he had an executive order ready for President Donald Trump to sign that would impose sanctions on any country that trades with North Korea, if the United Nations did not put new sanctions on it.

A senior administration official said the USA was still assessing last weekend's underground explosion but so far noted nothing inconsistent with Pyongyang's claim.

Nato's secretary-general said North Korean behaviour is a global threat and called for a united response.

Trump did not address sanctions as he spoke at the White House, where he appeared alongside Sheikh Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah, the visiting Kuwait ruler.

Four launchers for a US missile shield arrived at a military base in South Korea on Thursday, as Seoul warned North Korea may launch a new missile as soon as this weekend.

The draft resolution takes aim directly at North Korea's leadership, proposing a freeze on Kim's assets as well as those of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea and the government.

Mr Trump - in tweets after the North's test on Sunday - faulted South Korea for what he called its "talk of appeasement" toward the North, and didn't specifically mention that the United States is obligated by treaty to defend its ally in the event of war.

Trump commented Wednesday after speaking by telephone earlier in the day with Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng).

"President Xi would like to do something".

But Trump, who has recently been waging a fiery war of words with Kim, on Wednesday insisted that military action against North Korea's nuclear program is not his first choice and pushed for a diplomatic option. "He doesn't want to see what's happening there, either".

The United States is now urging new and tougher U.N. sanctions, including a ban on all oil and natural gas exports to North Korea, in response to the nuclear test. "As never before, everyone should show restraint and refrain from steps leading to escalation and tensions".

A senior administration official downplayed Trump's remarks afterward, saying Trump had not meant to signal he would accept North Korea as a nuclear state. He said he learned nothing from the closed-doors briefing by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that he hadn't already read in newspapers. Chris Murphy of CT, another Democrat, said.

"They're talking about a diplomacy first strategy that has been clearly rejected by their boss".

Trump traded threats with Pyongyang last month after it conducted two long-range missile tests.

Administration officials said on Thursday there remains ample room for additional economic pressure on North Korea.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, backed Trump and said he may be employing a "good cop, bad cop" approach.

Trump has put a priority on pressuring China to "do more" on North Korea. "Is it inevitable? Nothing's inevitable", Trump said during a news conference.

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