White House Window to Diplomacy Over North Korea Closing Quickly

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that the United States may try to put more economic pressure on China to rein in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The warnings from Trump, made in a series of Wednesday morning tweets, followed North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 3.

In one tweet Trump questioned why the U.S. should continue trade deals with “countries that do not help us.”

Trump noted that China’s trade with North Korea grew “almost 40 percent in the first quarter.”

“So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try,” the president said.

On Wednesday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned China that its huge trade with the United States could be imperiled if Beijing is found to be violating U.N. sanctions through its economic relationship with Pyongyang.

Haley said “the world has become a more dangerous place” and said  the U.S. will use its “considerable military forces” to defend itself and its allies.

In the wake of the missile test, China and Russia issued a joint statement calling for the North Korean leader end his provocative missile tests.

The U.S. and South Korea also issued a joint statement, condemning the launch of the ICBM as “destabilizing” and “unlawful.”

Shortly afterward they followed North Korea’s missile test with a show of force of their own, launching what the South Korean Defense Ministry described as a series of “deep strike” precision missile tests.

North Korea’s state-owned media unleashed a torrent of propaganda in the hours that followed, calling their nation’s latest missile test a “brilliant victory” and a “thrilling” success.

Those reports also said Kim Jong Un believes he is in “final phase” of confrontation with America.

According to North Korea, its missile reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers or about 1,741 miles.

While such claims of success are usually quickly shot down by the U.S. and others, in this case Pentagon officials and members of South Korea’s intelligence community said the missile launched on Monday could perhaps reach as far as Alaska.

The July 3 test by North Korea was not a total surprise to U.S. officials. Daniel Coats, director of national intelligence, testified in May that the U.S. expected a long range launch by North Korea before the end of the year.

Since taking office, President Trump has encouraged China to take the lead on cooling tensions between North Korea and the west.

But over the past 24 hours the White House has said North Korea is “quickly closing off” the prospect of a diplomatic resolution to its nuclear provocations.

The Trump administration has launched a government-wide effort to identify options for confronting Pyongyang following its unprecedented intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

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