The international community including China is united against North Korea which has conducted its fifth nuclear test, the White House has said, asserting that US President Barack Obama takes the threat seriously and is committed to protect Americans.
“I know that there was a statement from the Security Council over the weekend that indicated that they were going to consider additional economic sanctions that could be imposed against North Korea for their continued and flagrant violations of a variety of Security Council resolutions,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
Noting that for a statement like that to come forward, it has to have unanimous agreement of the Security Council, Earnest said that is an indication of how unified the international community is in prioritising the situation in North Korea, in being alarmed about the situation there and in considering additional steps to isolate it even further.
“So there is some important work to be done at the UN and the US will be supportive of that process,” he said.
There is a THAAD battery that has been deployed to Guam. The US and South Korea recently agreed to deploy an additional THAAD battery in South Korea – all of which is oriented against the threat from North Korea, he said.
“It is an indication that President Obama takes the threat seriously and is committed to taking the prudent steps that are required to protect the American people and our allies,” Earnest said.
Obama had said how the administration has been pleased with constructive contribution that the Chinese have made to applying pressure on the North Koreans, Earnest said.
“The President believes there is more that they could do. There have been a number of conversations, including between President Obama and President Xi (Jinping), about the need to continue to make dealing with this situation a priority,” he said as he refrained from responding to questions on US sanctions against North Korea.
“I certainly would not rule out an announcement like that, but those kinds of sanctions are not the kind of sanctions that we talk about publicly because doing so would only tip our hand and allow those who were the target of the sanctions to make arrangements to try to avoid them before we were even able to implement them in the first place.
“If there are more sanctions like that that are put forward, then we’ll certainly announce them publicly and explain to you the rationale for why they were imposed. But we will not do that until a final policy decision has been made about them,” Earnest said in response to a question.
The US has steps at the direction of the Commander-in- Chief to enhance its anti-ballistic-missile capabilities in the Asia Pacific. The US has deployed additional naval assets in the Pacific, including Aegis systems that can be used to defend the US against ballistic missiles, he said.
There is technology that has been deployed to Japan to better track those missiles and enhance our ability to defend the US and our allies against them.