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The senior Navy officer overseeing Pacific military operations says North Korea crisis is at the worst point he’s ever seen. Adm. Harry Harris Jr. says he has no doubt North Korea intends to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the US. (April 27)
AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday put pressure on the United Nations Security Council to impose new sanctions on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program.

A “major, major conflict” with North Korea is a possibility for the U.S., but the White House is trying to come up with diplomatic solutions, President Trump told Reuters Thursday.

Here are a few ways that could happen:

Enforce current sanctions

Tighten enforcement of existing U.N. Security Council sanctions. The latest sanctions resolution passed by world powers in November was touted as the strongest ever, but the State Department and analysts say those measures have yet to be fully enforced.

The sanctions limit North Korea’s sale of conventional weapons, coal and iron ore, especially if revenue would benefit its nuclear or ballistic missile programs.

“China and other countries in Africa and Southeast Asia are plainly not implementing all these sanctions,” said Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank in Washington.

Some of those countries need help from the West to screen for complicated financial arrangements designed to hide North Korean involvement, and others are simply not interested in implementing the sanctions because they benefit from cut-rate North Korean pricing, Ruggiero said.

Stop Chinese missile carriers

The U.S. could start publicly calling out companies involved in North Korea’s weapons programs, such as two Chinese trucking companies that provided or helped build large vehicles that North Korea uses to transport, erect and launch its missiles, said Richard Fisher, a China and Korea analyst at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation and the China National Heavy Duty Truck Group or Sinotruk, have provided trucks or large missile carriers that North Korea uses to transport missiles aimed at U.S. forces in Asia, Fisher said. The vehicles were displayed in an April 15 military parade, where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s forces showed off their capabilities and intentions to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles able to reach U.S. cities.

“In order for those trucks to carry the missile,…