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UN ambassador will not rule out strike against North Korea over nuclear tests

The US ambassador to the United Nations is not ruling out an American strike on North Korea if Pyongyang tests another nuclear device.

Nikki Haley spoke on several television networks, praising China's involvement in trying to pressure North Korea to cease missile testing.

She also criticised the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, as unstable and paranoid.

Ms Haley told NBC's Today Show that "we are not going to do something unless he gives us reason to do something" - such as attacking a US military base or using an intercontinental ballistic missile.

When asked what would happen if North Korea tests another missile or nuclear device, Ms Haley told NBC: "I think then the president steps in and decides what's going to happen."

The Trump administration has been working to rally support behind its efforts to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear ambitions and ceasing all aggression.

President Donald Trump spoke again to the leaders of China and Japan to discuss the matter on Sunday.

The White House said Mr Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping reaffirmed the "urgency of the threat posed by North Korea".

Mr Trump has repeatedly promised that China will earn a better trade deal with the US if it helps to exert pressure on its allied neighbouring nation.

North Korea has been aggressively pursuing a decades-long goal of putting a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, capable of reaching the US mainland.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year alone, which would have improved its knowledge on making nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

South Korean officials say there is a chance the country will conduct its sixth nuclear test or its maiden test launch of an ICBM some time close to the founding anniversary of its military on Tuesday.

Ms Haley said the US is working with China to pressure North Korea on the missile and nuclear testing and other issues, including the detention over the weekend of a US citizen, bringing to three the number of Americans now being held there.

Ms Haley said the detentions are North Korea's effort to "have a bargaining chip" for talks with the US.

"What we're dealing with is a leader who is flailing right now and he's trying to show his citizens he has muscle," she told CBS This Morning.

AP

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