Haley: North Korea must stop its nuclear tests

U.S. ambassador to the UN stresses North Korea must stop conducting nuclear tests before the United States would consider talks.

Ben Ariel,

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley

North Korea must stop conducting nuclear tests before the United States would enter into any talks with the isolated regime, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday, according to AFP.

"They have to stop testing. They have to be willing to talk about banning their nuclear weapons. Those things have to happen," she stressed.

"This is going to be phases. This isn't going to happen overnight, as we've seen, but it's a dangerous situation," Haley added, speaking on ABC's "This Week."

Her comments came one day after President Donald Trump indicated he would be open to speaking directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

While Trump's latest remarks appeared to be a pivot away from his often-bellicose rhetoric on North Korea and Kim, Haley clarified there was "no turnaround" in the U.S. stance.

"What he has basically said is, yes, there could be a time where we talk to North Korea but a lot of things have to happen before that actually takes place," she was quoted as having said.

North Korea has continued to carry out missile and nuclear tests, in defiance of international pressure and United Nations resolutions.

North Korea recently launched a Hwasong-15 missile, a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which officials said can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles).

Pyongyang said following that launch as well that that it had test-fired its most advanced missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range, and also declared itself to be "a responsible nuclear power".

Last week, Kim claimed that his country has developed the capability to hit the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear weapons.

“The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat,” Kim said in a televised New Year’s Day speech.

Trump later fired back, writing on Twitter, “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Haley said on Sunday the president’s hot-and-cold approach vis-à-vis North Korea was "very clear" in sending a message to Pyongyang that "we're not letting up on the pressure."

"I think that (Trump) always has to keep Kim on his toes. It's very important that we don't ever let him get so arrogant that he doesn't realize the reality of what would happen if he started a nuclear war," she explained.

North and South Korea are set to hold their first official dialogue in more than two years this week, and are expected to discuss the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

"Those two countries have to get along. That's good for the United States that they can at least start getting back into talks," Haley said Sunday.