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'US ready to use force against North Korea'

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ICBM test has made world a more dangerous place, says US ambassador

UNITED NATIONS: The US pushed for tougher sanctions on North Korea at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, warning that the regime's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) had drastically narrowed the path for diplomacy.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday's ICBM test had made "the world a more dangerous place", and reiterated that Washington was ready to use force if need be to deal with the threat of a nuclear-armed Pyongyang.

At the UN, Ms Haley called the launch "a clear and sharp military escalation", and US and South Korean forces fired off missiles on Wednesday into the Sea of Japan simulating a precision strike against North Korea's leadership.

Washington had "considerable military forces", Ms Haley said. "We will use them if we must."

But the US focus, she told the council, was to push through tighter sanctions, and it would submit a new draft resolution within days, AFP reported.

South Korea's President Moon Jae In and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed at a summit meeting yesterday that North Korea's test-launch was "unforgivable," Yonhap news agency reported.

Mr Xi told Mr Moon that China is committed to denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and a settlement of the issue via dialogue and consultation, state news agency Xinhua said.

Separately, China's vice-finance minister Zhu Guangyao said Beijing would implement all sanctions imposed on North Korea as a result of its missile tests, but warned the US not to use them as an excuse to impose sanctions against China's financial institutions, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said yesterday he was considering a "pretty severe" response to North Korea.

"I call on all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behaviour," Mr Trump said during a visit to Warsaw.

"I have pretty severe things that we're thinking about," he said, adding: "That doesn't mean that we'll do them."

In a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the G20 summit she is hosting, Mr Moon said the level of the North's nuclear and missile capabilities was already a problem, "but the bigger problem is that the speed of progress is far faster than expected".

Sanctions and pressure, he added, should be a means to push the North to the negotiating table, "and should not break the peace itself".

The European Union and Japan also called for further sanctions against North Korea.

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