U.S. warns North Korea against new missile test, plays down talks
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned North Korea on Tuesday against staging another missile test and said Washington would not take any talks between North and South Korea seriously if they did not do something to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.
Haley told reporters the United States was hearing reports that North Korea might be preparing to fire another missile.
“I hope that doesn’t happen. But if it does, we must bring even tougher measures to bear against the North Korean regime,” Haley said.
South Korea on Tuesday offered talks with North Korea next week, amid a tense standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year’s Day speech that he was “open to dialogue” with Seoul.
Kim also said he was open to the possibility of North Korean athletes taking part in Winter Olympics South Korea hosts next month.
At the same time, he stressed that his country would push ahead with “mass producing” nuclear warheads in defiance of U.N. sanctions and that he had a nuclear button on his desk capable of launching missiles at the United States.
Haley said the United States would not take talks seriously if they did not take steps toward banning North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
“North Korea can talk to anyone they want, but the U.S. is not going to recognize it or acknowledge it until they agree to ban the nuclear weapons that they have,” she said.
Haley gave no details of the missile test preparations.