US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is “begging for war” with his latest and most powerful nuclear bomb test.
The US envoy told an emergency meeting of the Security Council in New York that the US did not want a war but its patience was “not unlimited”.
The US will table a new United Nations resolution shortly to toughen sanctions.
On September 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin called sanctions “useless, ineffective and exhausted”.
China, North Korea’s main ally, has called for a return to negotiations and Switzerland has offered to mediate.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s navy carried out live-fire naval drills on September 5, warning that if North Korea provoked them “we will immediately hit back and bury them at sea”, reported Yonhap news agency.
It comes a day after South Korea’s military simulated a missile attack on North Korea’s nuclear test site.
Reports suggest North Korea is preparing new test missile launches.
On September 3, North Korea tested a bomb underground, which was thought to have a power range from 50 kilotonnes to 120 kilotonnes. A 50kt device would be about three times the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.
Nikki Haley argued that only the strongest sanctions would enable the problem to be resolved through diplomacy.
“War is never something the United States wants,” she said.
“We don’t want it now but our country’s patience is not unlimited.”
China Ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi reiterated a call for all sides to return to negotiations.
“The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully,” he said.
“China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula.”