The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned Wednesday that the North Korean regime "will be utterly destroyed" if a war breaks out, a day after that country launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in a new provocative test.
"We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it," Ambassador Nikki Haley said at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting. "If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday."
"And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed," Haley said. "The nations of the world have it within their power to further isolate, diminish and, God willing, reverse the dangerous course of the North Korean regime."
North Korea on Tuesday fired what appeared to be a new type of ICBM. North Korean state television claimed it was a nuclear-capable missile that was "significantly more" powerful than missiles in previous tests, The Associated Press reported.
It is the third ICBM test conducted by North Korea, which has also carried out six past nuclear tests. In all, the North Koreans have test-fired rockets 18 times since President Donald Trump took office in January.
U.S. military officials said that the missile tested Tuesday appears to be a new variant.
Haley on Wednesday also called on all countries to cut off ties to North Korea, and pushed China to cease oil supply to the regime — saying, "China can do this on its own, or we can take the oil situation into our own hands."
Haley's comments about the destruction of North Korea’s regime in the event of war mirrors language used by Trump earlier this year, when he warned that North Korea would "be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before” if it continued to threaten the United States.
Trump in his first address before the United Nations in September said, "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."
China, North Korea’s ally and main trading partner, in late September announced it would limit energy supplies to North Korea and stop buying its textiles.
China's deputy permanent representative to the U.N., Wu Haitao, said Wednesday that China “expresses its great concern and opposition” over North Korea’s latest missile test, and called on the country to obey U.N. sanctions banning tests and cease provocations.
He stressed the importance of reducing tension on the Korean Peninsula through diplomatic and political means "while emphasizing that people's livelihood and humanitarian assistance efforts in [North Korea] should not be negatively impacted."
Russia's representative to U.N., Vassily Nebenzia, accused the United States and its allies of escalating tensions with Pyongyang through military maneuvers. "We believe this time should have been used as a time to establish direct contacts with Pyongyang rather than further escalating tensions," Nebenzia said.
Trump on Wednesday said on Twitter that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the North Korean missile launch, and vowed: "Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!"
Trump, at a speech in Missouri on Wednesday in which he pushed a Republican tax bill, also took jabs at North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong Un, referring to him as "a sick puppy" and "little rocket man," a derogatory nickname Trump has used in the past.