Trump threatens more sanctions following N Korea nuke test

Trump threatens more sanctions following N Korea nuke test”

Neighbouring South Korea reacted by conducting a live-fire exercise simulating an attack on the North's nuclear site, state news agency Yonhap reported, hitting "designated targets in the East Sea" with missiles and F-15K fighter jets.

The ministry said it regretted that the leadership of North Korea was "creating a serious threat" for the region and warned that "the continuation of such a line is fraught with serious consequences" for Pyongyang.

And UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the test as "profoundly destabilizing", while the Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Monday.

Chang Kyung-soo, an official with South Korea's Defense Ministry, told lawmakers that Seoul was seeing preparations in the North for an ICBM test but didn't provide details about how officials had reached that assessment. 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.

In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump threatened to halt all trade with countries doing business with the North, a veiled warning to China, and faulted South Korea for what he called "talk of appeasement".

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 worldwide condemnation of Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test including from China.

The target was set considering the distance to the North's test site and the exercise was aimed at practicing precision strikes and cutting off reinforcements, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

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

Neither North Korea nor South Korea is a Security Council member.

Both diplomacy and severe sanctions have failed to check the North's decades-long march to nuclear mastery.

"I'm going to draft a sanctions package and send it to the president for his strong consideration that anybody that wants to do trade or business with them will be prevented from doing trade or business with us", Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday".

Despite the tough talk, the immediate focus of the worldwide response was expected to be on tougher economic sanctions against Pyongyang.

"Despite the anger of the Chinese public toward North Korea's new nuclear test, we should avoid resorting to rash and extreme means by imposing a full embargo on North Korea", it said in an editorial.

The precise strength of the North's underground nuclear explosion has yet to be determined.

Sunday's detonation builds on recent North Korean advances that include test launches in July of two ICBMs. More drills were being prepared with US forces in the South, it said.

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

"We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches".

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. The images were taken without outside journalists present and could not be independently verified. The meeting was called by the US, France, the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea, according to the US mission to the UN.

That is why some questioned Trump's jab at South Korea. The U.S. has about 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea and is obliged by treaty to defend it in the event of war.

Still, Trump's response was more orderly and less haphazard than he had offered to other provocations by North Korea. He said the South would discuss deploying "the strongest strategic assets of the USA military" - a possible reference to tactical nuclear weapons, which the U.S. withdrew from South Korea in 1991.

North Korea gets the bulk of its oil from China, its main ally and trading partner, and a lesser amount from Russian Federation. "We should keep denuclearization as a long-term aspiration, but recognize privately that it's unachievable anytime soon".

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