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Politics

As Trump heads to UN, advisors say North Korea hasn't fully felt sanctions yet

Advisors to President Donald Trump on Friday said North Korea may not have felt the full bite of economic sanctions yet, following the communist dictatorship's latest missile test.

National security advisor H.R. McMaster and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley again said they want to exhaust all diplomatic actions to stop Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. However, they repeated the administration's warning that it has military options prepared to respond to North Korean aggression.

"There is a military option," MCMaster said. "It's not what we prefer to do."

Haley added: "I have no problem kicking it to [Defense Secretary James] Mattis, because he has plenty of options."

National security advisor H.R. McMaster speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, May 16, 2017.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
National security advisor H.R. McMaster speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, May 16, 2017.

The latest North Korean escalation will feature prominently when Trump heads to the United Nations General Assembly in New York for the first time next week. The president will give remarks to the assembly on Tuesday, and meet with the leaders of South Korea and Japan on Thursday.

Haley repeatedly said the latest package of North Korea sanctions unanimously passed by the Security Council is significant, calling it a "massive sanctions package."

"We have strangled their economic situation at this point," Haley said, adding that the effects will take "a little bit of time."

McMaster stressed that putting enough diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang to curb its aggression will be a global effort.

The sanctions were announced days before North Korea's latest provocation this week, the launching of a missile over Japan into the Pacific.

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