A day after North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, President Trump condemned its leader as a “sick puppy,” and his administration demanded all countries, including China, sever economic and diplomatic ties with the secretive regime in Pyongyang.
“Little Rocket Man … he is a sick puppy,” Trump said on Wednesday in the middle of a speech focused on the Republican tax-cut plan in Congress. The president had just described the GOP proposal as energizing the U.S. economy with “rocket fuel,” which apparently made him think of his Elton John-inspired moniker for Kim.
At an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting called in response to Tuesday’s missile test, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley warned that North Korea’s actions had brought the world “closer to war.”
“And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed,” said Haley, who pressed all nations to “cut off all ties with North Korea” in addition to implementing existing sanctions on the regime.
“All countries should sever diplomatic relations with North Korea and limit military, scientific, technical or commercial cooperation,” Haley told the council. “They must also cut off trade with the regime by stopping all imports and exports, and expel all North Korean workers.”
She also said that Trump had pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping during a telephone call earlier in the day to cut off oil supplies to North Korea.
“China can do this on its own, or we can take the oil situation into our own hands,” she said, without elaborating.
The Trump administration has notched several recent successes in its campaign to further isolate North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, notably a pair of 15-0 U.N. Security Council votes to tighten sanctions. Countries like Singapore and Sudan have promised to cut some economic ties. Even China, North Korea’s de facto patron and its largest export market, has reportedly curbed trade with the secretive Stalinist regime.
Washington has been studying what new sanctions it could impose, either unilaterally or cooperatively through a forum like the United Nations. At the same time, senior U.S. officials have refused to rule out using force.
It’s unclear what value, if any, Trump’s repeated insults have to his administration’s efforts to roll back North Korea’s ballistic missile and…