Soon after North Korea launched its second Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) within in a month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blamed Russia and China bear for encouraging North Korea’s nuclear problem.
“As the principal economic enablers of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development programme, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability,” Tillerson said.
He called for a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the end to North Korea’s “belligerent actions”.
“As we and others have made clear, we will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea nor abandon our commitment to our allies and partners in the region,” he said.
Tillerson blamed Russia and China for being the “principal economic enablers” of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, despite it violating multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
He urged all nations to “take a strong public stance” against North Korea and asked them to strengthen UN sanctions to ensure North Korea faces “consequences for its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them”.
North’s latest ICBM travelled about 1,000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, reports said. After the launch North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said the missile was capable of hitting anywhere in the US mainland.
Interestingly, the missile launch came a day after the US Congress voted to impose tougher sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked the US to pursue a “comprehensive approach” to force Pyongyang to back down.
He suggested rigorous enforcement of sanctions, strengthening regional alliances, and expanded deployment of missile defence systems to confront the North Korean threat.
Congressman Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said another advance for the North’s missile programme amplifies the danger to the US homeland and accelerates the need for steps to protect Americans and its allies.
“We need a stronger approach on a faster timeline now,” he said.
Senator Joe Donnelly, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, said: “The administration can and must step up sanctions against China and anyone else who contributes to propping up this dangerous regime”.
(With inputs from agencies)