N. Korean FM threatens 'merciless preventive action' against US

N. Korean FM threatens 'merciless preventive action' against US”

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, Ri Yong-ho said North Korea will take "merciless preventive action" if the USA shows any sign of "decapitating operation on our headquarters or military attack against our country".

The quake also caps a week in which President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un exchanged increasingly bellicose insults and follows a threat on Thursday by the North to carry out a significantly more unsafe nuclear test.

Kim in turn called Trump a "frightened dog" and a "mentally deranged US dotard".

Mr Ri confirmed North Korea had tested a hydrogen bomb during his speech and was in the process of completing its nuclear force.

The fresh insults came as United States bombers flew close to North Korea's east coast.

Ri echoed Trump's words Saturday, saying it is the USA president who "is on a suicide mission". He said Kim was on "suicide mission".

The U.S. put its own sanctions on North Korea on Thursday, against banks or companies doing business with the country.

Trump on Friday had renewed his rhetorical offensive against Kim. Ri said Trump will "pay dearly" for his speech Tuesday.

The heated exchanges between Trump and Kim come at a time when diplomatic pressure may be starting to bear fruit.

A magnitude 3.4 tremor detected in North Korea thought to be a "suspected explosion", China's quake administration said.

North Korea has been maintaining a torrid pace in nuclear and weapons tests as it accelerates its pursuit of nuclear weapons that could viably target the United States and its allies in Asia. The combination of Kim Jong Un's growing belligerence, new US financial sanctions, and a Chinese turn on North Korea trade might be a turning point that finally isolates the Kim regime.

While Tillerson has insisted that diplomacy still has a chance to work, military force appears to be increasing as an option.

The president assured those in attendance, without details, that he would defend the USA against any offensives launched by North Korea: "I can tell you one thing, you are protected, OK?"

According to the US Air Force, its B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam and US Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, flew in global airspace over waters east of North Korea.

On Friday, the foreign minister for the isolated, repressive state reportedly told the U.N. General Assembly that a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific could be the next answer to ongoing threats and hostile rhetoric between the two nations. They were escorted by F-15C fighter jets from Okinawa, Japan.

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