American ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley vowed Monday night not to back down from North Korea after the rogue nation threatened retaliation in response to new sanctions.
"We are not going to run scared from them," Haley said in an interview with Fox News.
This weekend, the United Nations Security Council imposed tough sanctions on North Korea for its ballistic missile tests last month, in a unanimous vote that included the backing of China and Russia.
The resolution includes a ban on North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, and seafood. The ban could cut North Korea's annual exports by one-third and cost it $1 billion in revenue.
North Korea's official news agency on Monday threatened to make the U.S. "pay the price for its crime thousands of times," referring to the new sanctions.
Haley on Monday night called the U.N. sanctions a "gut punch" to North Korea and said its aggressive posture shows how concerned the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, is about the impact of the new punishment.
"All of us should be concerned about what's happening right now," Haley said of North Korea's recent launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles. "But I think the signs that we are seeing from North Korea, is they are concerned back."
She credited China and Russia with supporting the U.N. sanctions. China has long provided economic support to North Korea, making up more than 90 percent of the regime's trade. Russia is also an economic partner with North Korea. Both have been accused of not doing enough to contest North Korea.
"Now they [North Korea] see the international community as standing with one voice," Haley said. "China didn't pull off. Russia didn't pull off. And all of the security council and the international community said that's enough. You've got to stop it. It's reckless. It's irresponsible. The international community really laid down the groundwork of saying we're not going to watch you do this anymore."
Haley also singled out Russia's support for the sanctions. She claimed the Trump administration has been tough on Russia, forcing Moscow to make concessions.
"Russia is trying to figure out how to deal with us," Haley said. "They are trying to decide when can would we be with the United States and when can we not? The resolution was certainly an opportunity for them to be with us, and they stepped up and they did it. They didn't do it willingly. I think they wanted to drag it out a bit. When they saw this train was moving, they jumped on and were with us on that."