Haley: Trump has sent a ‘strong message’

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Haley: Trump has sent a ‘strong message’

President Donald Trump’s decision to disavow the Iranian nuclear deal sends a “strong message” to North Korea about accountability, said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday.

“The whole reason we’re looking at this Iran agreement is because of North Korea,” Haley told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” as she looked back on “25 years of botched agreements and negotiations and accountability not kept by North Korea,” leading to the current nuclear and missile threat.

“So, what this says to North Korea is, don’t expect us to engage in a bad deal, and also, if at any point we do come up with something, expect us to follow through with it,” said Haley. “Expect us to hold you accountable.”

She said the Trump administration is “sending a very strong message to the international community” that it will not just “give you a lot of money and say, ‘Go have a good time.’”

Trump decertified the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Friday, though he stopped short of withdrawing from the Barack Obama administration’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, which he has been considering doing for weeks. He deferred it to Congress to establish new conditions on the deal and threatened to terminate it should they fail.

The landmark nuclear deal was sealed in 2015 between Iran and the P5 plus 1 group of world powers - the United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Russia plus Germany - and imposed strict limits of Tehran’s nuclear activities for 10 years in return for lifting UN Security Council sanctions as well as unilateral ones by the United States and other Western countries.

The decision also has sparked international criticism that Washington walking away from the Iran agreement, which the U.S. State Department and the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tehran is complying with, sends the wrong signal to Pyongyang that the United States cannot be trusted to keep its end of a deal. United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in turn said they stand committed to the deal. In a rare joint statement, they added, “The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is not diverted for military purposes.”

H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, told Fox News Sunday that military options against North Korea are “under constant refinement,” while military leaders are “improving plans every day.”

But U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson underscored that “diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops,” in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. Trump’s message to North Korea is that military preparations are “ready to go” and that the United States has “military options on the table” that Washington has “spent substantial time actually perfecting,” said the secretary.

However, Tillerson added, “The president has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically,” despite Trump’s recent remarks seemingly undercutting his state secretary’s diplomatic efforts to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program. “He is not seeking to go to war.”

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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