The United States on Wednesday said it was ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile programme, reported Reuters. During an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Pyongyang’s actions were “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution”.

“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces,” she said. “We will use them if we must, but we prefer to not have to go in that direction.”

On Tuesday, North Korea had successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which it claimed was capable of hitting any target in the world.

Haley said the US was prepared to defend itself and its allies, and that Tuesday’s ICBM test had made “the world a more dangerous place”. She also urged China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

The US also led a push for tougher sanctions on the North at the UN Security Council and promised to submit a new draft sanctions resolution within days, reported AFP.

Haley said Washington would exhaust all diplomatic avenues before it resorts to confrontation. “...There remains more that the international community can and must do, diplomatically and economically.”