Massive military response if N Korea threatens United States or allies: Mattis

Massive military response if N Korea threatens United States or allies: Mattis”

The global community has unanimously condemned Pyongyang's new atomic test. Seoul and Tokyo have also called for more sanctions on Pyongyang. Chang also said the yield from the latest nuclear detonation appeared to be about 50 kilotons, which would mark a "significant increase" from North Korea's past nuclear tests.

"Both heads of state agreed to cooperate closely with each other and the United States and shared the understanding there must be the most powerful sanctions and pressure applied on North Korea", presidential Blue House spokesman Park Su-hyun told a media briefing after the two leaders spoke by phone.

The North hailed its test of what it described as a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile as "a flawless success".

The South's military said the range to the simulated targets were equivalent to the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site in its north-eastern province.

South Korea's air force and army conducted exercises involving long-range air-to-surface and ballistic missiles on Monday following Sunday's nuclear test, the joint chiefs of staff said in a statement.

"Any threat to the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response", The Hill quoted Mattis as saying.

Pyongyang raised tensions in July with two successful tests of an ICBM which apparently brought much of the United States mainland within range.

In Washington, Trump, asked by a reporter if he would attack the North, said: "We'll see". More drills were being prepared with USA forces in the South, it said. "We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so", Mattis said.

A series of USA and United Nations-backed sanctions seem to have had little effect on Pyongyang.

Scheduled after North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb underground Sunday, the emergency session comes six days after the council strongly condemned Pyongyang's "outrageous" launch of a ballistic missile over Japan.

Hours before, North Korean state news agency KCNA released pictures showing Kim inspecting a silver, hourglass-shaped warhead during a visit to the North's nuclear weapons institute.

Beyond the science of the blast, North Korea's accelerating push to field a nuclear weapon that can target all of the United States is creating political complications for the it seeks to balance resolve with reassurance to allies that Washington will uphold its decades-long commitment to deter nuclear attack on South Korea and Japan.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Trump appeared to rebuke South Korea for that approach. He said the South would discuss deploying "the strongest strategic assets of the United States military" - a possible reference to tactical nuclear weapons, which the United States withdrew from South Korea in 1991.

Trump also suggested putting more pressure on China, the North's patron for many decades and a vital USA trading partner, in hopes of persuading Beijing to exert more effective leverage on its neighbor.

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