President Donald Trump on Monday urged the UN Security Council to ready new sanctions on North Korea, calling the status quo “unacceptable”.
Speaking during a rare gathering of Council ambassadors at the White House, Trump called North Korea “a big problem” that is “a real threat to the world”.
“The Council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Trump said in the State Dining Room. “People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it’s time to solve the problem.”
Addressing reporters after their lunch, Trump’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, described the talks as an “open dialogue”.
Trump is currently seeking greater international cooperation on North Korea, particularly with China in the hopes that Beijing can reign in its neighbor.
The American president recently spoke with his Japanese, German and Chinese counterparts as tensions soar on the Korean Peninsula amid fears that Pyongyang is readying its sixth nuclear test.
Doing so could prompt U.S. action with an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, two destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser sailing for the waters off the Korean Peninsula. The group is scheduled to get to the region by the end of April.
Successive ballistic missile and nuclear tests have rattled regional leaders, and are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
During his phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump “criticized North Korea’s continued belligerence and emphasized that Pyongyang’s actions are destabilizing the Korean Peninsula”, according to the White House.
During the call, the leaders pledged to strengthen their coordination on denuclearizing North Korea, the White House said.
A readout of the call reported by China’s official broadcaster, CCTV, said Xi urged Trump to exercise restraint.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a special Security Council ministerial on Friday to address denuclearization efforts in the Korean Peninsula.
“The meeting will give Security Council members an opportunity to discuss ways to maximize the impact of existing Security Council measures and show their resolve to respond to further provocations with appropriate new measures,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement announcing the meeting.
In a separate meeting slated for Wednesday, high-ranking military officials will brief senators on North Korea, the Pentagon said.
Secretary of State Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will attend the meeting.