Thank you, Mr. President.
To my friends on the Security Council, I must say that today is a dark
day. It is a dark day because yesterday’s actions by North Korea made
the world a more dangerous place. Their illegal missile launch was not
only dangerous, but reckless and irresponsible. It showed that North
Korea does not want to be part of a peaceful world. They have cast a
dark shadow of conflict on all nations that strive for peace.
Yesterday’s act came from the same vicious dictator who sent a young
college student back home to his parents, unresponsive and in a coma.
For Americans, the true nature of the North Korean regime was painfully
brought home with the images of two guards holding
Otto Warmbier up as
they transported him from a prison he should never have been in. Otto
Warmbier is but one person out of millions who have been killed,
deprived of their human rights by the North Korean regime.
To Americans, the death of one innocent person can be as powerful as the
death of millions. Because all men and women are created in God’s image,
depravity toward one is a sure sign of willingness to do much more harm.
The nature of the North Korean regime is clear; only the scale of the
damage it does could become different. That’s why yesterday’s escalation
is so alarming. If North Korea will treat an innocent young student the
way it treated Otto Warmbier, we should not be surprised if it acts
barbarically on a larger scale.
The United States does not seek conflict. In fact, we seek to avoid it.
We seek only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and
an end to the threatening actions by North Korea. Regrettably, we’re
witnessing just the opposite.
Make no mistake, North Korea’s launch of
an ICBM is a clear and sharp military escalation. The North Korean
regime openly states that its missiles are intended to deliver nuclear
weapons to strike cities in the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
And now it has a greater capacity to do so.
In truth, it is not only the United States and our allies that are
threatened. North Korea’s destabilizing escalation is a threat to all
nations in the region and beyond. Their actions are quickly closing off
the possibility of a diplomatic solution.
The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities
to defend ourselves and our allies. One of our capabilities lies with
our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we
prefer not to have to go in that direction. We have other methods of
addressing those who threaten us and of addressing those who supply the
threats. We have great capabilities in the area of trade. President
Trump has spoken repeatedly about this. I spoke with him at length about
it this morning.
There are countries that are allowing -- even encouraging -- trade with
North Korea in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Such
countries would also like to continue their trade -- Such countries
would also like to trade their arrangements with the
United States. That’s not going to happen. Our attitude on trade changes
when countries do not take international security threats seriously.
Before the path to a peaceful solution is entirely closed, however,
there remains more that the international community can and must do
diplomatically and economically.
In the coming days, we will bring before the Security Council a
resolution that raises the international response in a way that is
proportionate to North Korea’s new escalation. I will not detail the
resolution here today, but the options are all known to us. If we are
unified, the international community can cut off the major sources of
hard currency to the North Korean regime. We can restrict the flow of
oil to their military and their weapons program. We can increase air
and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials
The international community has spoken frequently against the illegal
and dangerous actions of the North Korean regime. For many years, there
have been numerous
UN sanctions against North Korea. But they have been
insufficient to get them to change their destructive course. So in order
to have an impact, in order to move North Korea off its military
escalation, we must do more. We will not look exclusively at North
Korea. We will look at any country that chooses to do business with this
outlaw regime. We will not have patience for stalling or talking our way
down to a watered-down resolution.
Yesterday’s ICBM escalation requires an escalated diplomatic and
economic response. Time is short. Action is required. The world is on
notice. If we act together, we can still prevent a catastrophe, and we
can rid the world of a grave threat. If we fail to act in a serious way,
there will be a different response.
Much of the burden of enforcing UN sanctions rests with China. Ninety
percent of trade with North Korea is from China. We will work with
China. We will work with any and every country that believes in peace.
But we will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that have
brought us to this dark day.
We cannot forget the multiple missile tests this year or yesterday’s
We cannot forget Otto Warmbier and others North Korea
continues to hold.
We cannot forget the threats to our friends and
allies around the world.
We will not forget. And we will not delay.