The United Nations Security Council must be prepared to impose new sanctions on North Korea amid escalating tensions over its missile and nuclear programs, United States President Donald Trump said on Monday ahead of a lunch with ambassadors from countries on the UN council.
Trump, speaking to reporters, said the council also failed to act in response to a recent Syrian chemical weapons attack, which he called a “great disappointment.”
“The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Trump said.
“This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it’s a problem that we have to finally solve,” he said.
For his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all sides to exercise restraint on Monday in a telephone call about North Korea with Trump, as Japan conducted exercises with a US aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters.
Trump sent the carrier group for exercises in waters off the Korean peninsula as a warning, amid growing fears North Korea could conduct another nuclear test in defiance of UN sanctions.
North Korea responded by saying that the deployment was “an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade”.
Two Japanese destroyers have joined the carrier group for exercises in the western Pacific, and South Korea said on Monday it was also in talks about holding joint naval exercises.
Worry that North Korea could be preparing to conduct another nuclear test or launch more ballistic missiles has increased as it prepares to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People’s Army on Tuesday.
Trump has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the US with a nuclear missile and has said all options are on the table, including a military strike.
China is North Korea’s sole major ally but has been angered by its nuclear and missile programs and is frustrated by its belligerence.