The US is lobbying African governments to sever ties with North Korea, saying the country’s relentless pursuit of nuclear power is posing a global threat to international security.Addressing an international media conference call from the US this week, acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Scott emphasised the heightened importance the US placed on the perceived threat from North Korea. This follows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s statement on January 1, in which he expressed North Korea’s commitment to becoming a nuclear power.Scott said that the fact that North Korea continued to reinforce its declarations of intent to strike the US mainland made the US government treat the matter with urgency. “North Korea’s words and actions edge east Asia and the rest of the world closer to instability and broader conflict,” he said.US President Donald Trump and Kim have threatened to unleash the power of their nuclear weapons on each other’s countries. They even boasted that they had the button that would launch the nuclear weapons on their desks. Trump promised that his country’s button was bigger and that it worked.Scott said the US wanted to enforce maximum pressure through the international community “using all diplomatic and financial tools available” to ensure the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.“Many governments in Africa have long-standing relationships with North Korea that warrant a serious reassessment. “The passing of four UN Security Council Resolutions on sanctions on North Korea in the past 12 months demonstrates the urgency of this matter and the collective desire of the international community to find a diplomatic solution to the problem,” Scott said. “In successive annual reports, the UN’s North Korea Panel of Experts has documented multiple instances of North Korean arms-related activities with various African governments,” he said, adding that the US was encouraged by the actions of multiple countries in the past year to disrupt North Korea’s activities in the region.A number of African countries have taken positive steps to go beyond the UN Security Council Resolutions in promising to sever ties with North Korea, including by expelling North Korean labourers, decreasing or ceasing all trade ties, refusing to renew labour contracts with the country, denying high-level visits from and to Pyongyang, as well as making public statements condemning the country’s unlawful activities. “All of these actions send a strong message to North Korea and show the global support of limiting the influence of the country’s activities worldwide,” Scott said.Deputy special representative for North Korean policy Mark Lambert said the US had a number of strong unilateral sanctions that allowed it to financially punish “any person or any company, no matter where it is located” that is involved in serious trade with North Korea.“The US also worked closely with a number of African countries on a series of UN Security Council Resolutions, but we look at those resolutions as a starting point,” Lambert said.“In Africa, we want to partner with you. "We want to work with you to send a clear message to North Korea that the international community is united and has spoken that it will never accept North Korea as a nuclear power,” he said.