Tuesday’s aggressive missile launch – probably the longest ever from North Korea – over the territory of a close U.S. ally sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.
“This latest action by North Korea is reckless and poses an unacceptable further threat to the worldwide community”.
The U.S. should use its military training missions in East Asia to exert pressure on China to rein in North Korea, Congressman William Keating (D-Mass.) said today.
Pyongyang’s key ally China expressed strong condemnation+ while South Korean President Moon Jae-In called for the “strongest punishment” against the North, including new United Nations sanctions to “completely isolate” it.
The North claimed the device it tested was a thermonuclear weapon – commonly called a hydrogen bomb.
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) in Vienna said it had detected an “unusual seismic event” in North Korea that was larger than previous nuclear tests. It said the underground test site did not leak radioactive materials, which would make such a determination even harder.
Questions remain over whether it has successfully miniaturised its weapons, and whether it has a working H-bomb, but the official Korean Central News Agency said before the quake that leader Kim Jong-Un had inspected such a device at the Nuclear Weapons Institute.
It came as USA and South Korean forces were nearing the end of the 10-day annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint exercises, which the North regards as a rehearsal for invasion.
“If North Korea did indeed conduct a nuclear test, we absolutely can not tolerate and must protest firmly”.
North Korea said it had conducted a missile test to contain Guam.
Jiemiao Cangxin, a commentator on the Chinese microblog Weibo, said his building swayed so much that “I put my underpants on and I just ran, and when I reached the first floor I can say I wasn’t the only one running away with just my underpants on!”
On Tuesday, the North fired a mid-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan – a test considered one of the most provocative ever by the isolated communist state. “The H-bomb test was carried out to examine and confirm the accuracy and credibility … of [an] H-bomb to be placed in the payload of the [intercontinental ballistic missile]”. That’s the verdict on North Korea of President Donald Trump, who complains on Twitter that, in talking to Pyongyang, Uncle Sam has been paying “extortion money” to keep the three Kim dynasties in check.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Nations Security Council should urgently look at imposing new sanctions on North Korea and speed up implementation of existing ones.
The White House said Trump’s national security team was “monitoring this closely” and that the president would convene a meeting of his advisers later on Sunday.
North Korea’s audaciousness in threatening the world over its nuclear capability is growing by the day.
The statement did not say whether the conversation came before or after the North’s latest claim.
The North already has short-range missiles that cover Japan and possibly has achieved miniaturized nuclear warheads, the Defense Ministry’s annual report says.