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US wants to ramp up North Korea sanctions to bring Kim 'to his senses'

The Donald Trump administration has been keen on dismantling North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's nuclear programme. Photograph: (DNA)

AFP Washington, United States Apr 26, 2017, 11.47 PM (IST)

The United States has spelled out its desire to ramp up sanctions against North Korea in order to bring its leader Kim Jong-Un "to his senses".

The Pentagon released a statement that underlined Washington's tough stance on North Korea, which has pooh-poohed several economic sanctions in the past to continue with its ballistic missile programme.

After briefing senators at the White House, a statement from Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stated US President Donald Trump's desire to "dismantle" North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes by "tightening economic sanctions".

Although Washington remained on the front foot about its policies towards Pyongyang, the joint statement said they were involved in getting help from the "international community to incrcease pressure" on North Korea and convice them to "return to the path of dialogue".

Reiterating its statement that "all options were on the table", the statement further said: "We want to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses, not to his knees."

The Trump administration has been wary of North Korea's intention to continue with their nuclear testing and has warned about military action if needed.

The US has also reached out to China to placate the isolated regime. 

But if China's efforts are not enough to deter North Korea, the Trump administration has underscored the possibilities of a military solution.

THAAD trouble

The US sent the THAAD defence intercepting equipment to be installed in South Korea on Wednesday morning.

But the installation of the THAAD in a golf course in Seongju county has elicited heated protests from residents, who believe that the presence of the missile interceptor would goad North leader Kim Jong-Un to attack their region.

THAAD's deployment in South Korea has also vexed and angered Beijing in equal measure.

Its presence angers Beijing as it would help the US to monitor and perhaps scuttle their missile programmes. And it angers them because it is likely to escalate tensions in the Korean peninsula.

But the US and South Korea governments have remained steadfast about their decision to install THAAD.

They feel the increasing bellicosity of the North has left them with little option but to place the THAAD in South Korea.

THAAD is designed to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

North's defiance

North Korea has been ruffling feathers by flexing its military might.

Apart from test-firing missiles and threatening to launch ballistic missiles towards the US, Pyongyang has been recently busy in tom-tomming its largest-ever firing drill to mark the founding anniversary of its military.

The regime has, like in the past, routinely dismissed suggestions of sanctions and military threat to continue building their weaponry.

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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