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Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, talks with Wu Haitao, Chinese deputy ambassador to the United Nations, at the conclusion of an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council concerning North Korea's nuclear ambitions, at the United Nations headquarters, November 29, 2017 in New York City. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

If China Won't Impose North Korea Embargo, US Warns It Will 'Take Oil Situation Into Our Own Hands'

Analysts have warned that such an embargo would primarily harm North Korean civilians

Jake Johnson

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley further escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula Wednesday by warning that North Korea would be "utterly destroyed" if war breaks out and suggesting that if China doesn't shut off its oil shipments to Pyongyang, the U.S. would.

"China can do this on its own," threatened Haley, "or we can take the oil situation into our own hands."

While Haley claimed that an oil embargo against North Korea would be a "pivotal step in the world's efforts to stop this international pariah," China has indicated that it would not support such a policy, and analysts have warned that it would only harm the North Korean people.

"It is time for Trump to end his ridiculous policy of instigation via tweet and instead work on resolving such matters diplomatically." 
—Win Without War

Haley's remarks came during a U.N. Security Council meeting that took place just a day after North Korea carried out its third and most powerful ballistic missile launch yet. Pyongyang claimed that its new ICBM—labeled the Hwasong-15—has the capacity to reach the U.S. mainland.

Immediately following the launch on Tuesday, Trump took to Twitter claiming his administration would "take care of it." On Wednesday, during a speech on taxes in Missouri, Trump once again referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as "Little Rocket Man."

"He is a sick puppy," Trump added.

Thursday morning, Trump complained that a Chinese envoy who recently returned from a trip to North Korea "seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man."

Following North Korea's missile tests and the subsequent threats of destruction from the U.S., foreign policy analysts and anti-war groups continued their urgent calls for diplomatic solutions to soaring nuclear tensions.

Pursuit of a preemptive "military option"—which the Trump administration has repeatedly refused to rule out—would have "horrific humanitarian consequences," John Burroughs, executive director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, argues in a Newsweek op-ed published Thursday.

"Preventive war is plainly illegal under the U.N. Charter, which permits military action as a matter of self-defense only in response to an actual armed attack. At most, military action might be allowed in response to the early stages of an attack," Burroughs notes. "Preventive war proved profoundly destabilizing and destructive in the Middle East, and would again on the Korean Peninsula."

Given the "nuclear nightmare" that could result if tensions continue to soar, Win Without War concluded: "It is time for Trump to end his ridiculous policy of instigation via tweet and instead work on resolving such matters diplomatically."

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