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North Korea conducts hydrogen bomb test; US pledges 'massive' response if attacked

North Korea conducts hydrogen bomb test; US pledges 'massive' response if attacked”

Significantly, it came on a day China said it had lodged an official protest with North Korea following Pyongyang's largest-ever nuclear weapons test.

United States president Donald Trump on Sunday called North Korea a "great threat and embarrassment" to China and warned that "appeasement" won't work with Pyongyang.

The North trumpeted "perfect success" Sunday in its sixth nuclear test blast since 2006.

The JCS says that the target was set considering the distance to where the North's test site was and the exercise was aimed at practicing precision strikes and cutting off reinforcements.

But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that his department was preparing potent new measures that would "cut off North Korea economically".

The exercise came after South Korean President Moon Jae In, once an advocate of dialogue with the North, called for the "strongest punishment", joining a chorus of global condemnation of Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test including from China. "But as I said, we have many options to do so". No U.S. military action appeared imminent, and the immediate focus appeared to be on ratcheting up economic penalties, which have had little effect thus far. "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. "Any threat to the U.S. or its territories, including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response - a response both effective and overwhelming", Mattis said. The North says its missile development is part of a defensive effort to build a viable nuclear deterrent that can target USA cities.

It has made rapid progress with its nuclear programme, in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

North Korea in July had carried out two intercontinental ballistic missile launches that apparently brought much of the United States mainland into range.

South Korean experts said the tremor near the North's main test site was five to six times stronger than that from a 10-kiloton test a year ago.

The Arms Control Association in the United States said the explosion appeared to produce a yield in excess of 100 kilotons of TNT equivalent, which it said strongly suggests the North tested a high-yield but compact nuclear weapon that could be launched on a missile of intermediate or intercontinental range.

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.

Trump has previously vowed to stop North Korea developing nuclear weapons and said he would unleash "fire and fury" if it threatened US territory.

That is why some questioned Trump's jab at South Korea.

Still, Trump's response was more orderly and less haphazard than he had offered to other provocations by North Korea.



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