President Trump condemns 'hostile' move
North Korea said Sunday that it had developed a more advanced nuclear bomb with "great destructive power," releasing photos of Kim Jong Un inspecting what it said was a hydrogen bomb that could be attached to a missile capable of reaching the mainland United States.
North Korean state media said that the test was carried to test “the accuracy and credibility” of its “H-bomb to be placed at the payload of the ICBM.” North Korea tested its intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time in July, and its second test later the same month showed the rocket could theoretically reach Denver or Chicago. Analysts say the claims should be treated with caution, but the North's nuclear capability is clearly advancing.
President Donald Trump tweeted: "North Korea has conducted a major nuclear test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States. South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing! North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success."
Trump signaled Sunday that he was not ruling out a retaliatory strike against North Korea in response to its nuclear test, while Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned the isolated country that any threat to the United States or its allies would be met with “a massive military response.” Asked as he left church services whether he was planning to attack North Korea after a nuclear test that defied his previous blunt warnings, Trump told reporters, “We’ll see.”
Meanwhile, Trump convened a White House meeting Sunday afternoon of military leaders, his national security team and Vice President Pence, where Mattis said they reviewed each of the U.S.’ military options in the Asia-Pacific. Mattis said after the White House meeting that “the commitments among the allies are ironclad,” referencing the Japan, South Korea and the U.S. “Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming,” said Mattis, who was flanked by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mattis added, “We are not looking for the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.”
Trump warned in another tweet, “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.” He said he would be meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, White House chief of staff John F. Kelly and other military leaders to discuss options.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed cutting off 'all trade' with countries that do business with North Korea. He promised to consider a sanctions package that may cut off "all trade and all other business" with North Korea's trading partners after North Korea's latest nuclear test, saying the rogue country's behavior is "unacceptable." He added that, We are going to strongly consider everything at this point and, again, I will draft a package for [President Trump's] strong consideration that would go as far as cutting off all trade and other business," Mnuchin said in response to whether a package would also censure Chinese financial institutions and companies on Fox News Sunday.
U.S. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, is "begging for war" with his "abusive use of missiles." During an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Haley said, "We have taken an incremental approach, and despite the best intentions, it hasn't worked... War is never something the United States wants, we don't want it now, but our people's patience is not unlimited… We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no road left... The United States will view every country that does business with North Korea" as aiding their nuclear ambitions.
North Korea last carried out a nuclear test in September 2016. It has defied UN sanctions and international pressure to develop nuclear weapons and to test missiles which could potentially reach the mainland U.S.
Previous nuclear tests...
South Korea, China and Russia all voiced strong criticism of the move.
China on Sunday said it “resolutely opposes and strongly condemns” the launch, adding to denunciations from South Korea and Japan. “The Chinese government resolutely opposes and strongly condemns this,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “China will work together with the international community to comprehensively and completely implement the relevant resolutions of the Security Council of the UN, unswervingly push forward the denuclearization of the peninsula, and unswervingly maintain the peace and stability of the peninsula,” it said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would “never allow North Korea to continue advancing its nuclear and missile technologies,” according to his national security adviser. South Korean military leaders warned North Korea that they, together with their American allies, were “fully equipped” to punish North Korea.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he “would not tolerate” the nuclear test. Abe had spoken with Trump earlier in the day, and said afterwards that they had agreed to “increase pressure on North Korea and make it change its policies.”
Russia said the test defied international law and urged all sides involved to hold talks, saying this was the only way to resolve the Korean peninsula's problems.