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US Threatens 'Massive Military Response' Against North Korea

04 September 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, standing in front of the White House this afternoon after the latest and largest nuclear test carried out by North Korea, said the United States has many military options for dealing with Kim Jong Un's provocations and that President Donald J. Trump wanted to be briefed on each one.

North Korea has appeared to have conducted a sixth nuclear test, CNN reported Sunday. If confirmed, it would be the most powerful device ever tested by North Korea, and mark a significant step forward in the secretive regime's nuclear capability.

But speaking to reporters outside the White House, Defence Secretary Mattis said the United States had the ability to defend itself and its allies South Korea and Japan, adding that its commitments were "ironclad".

America's defence secretary has warned North Korea that any threat to the U.S. and its allies will be met by a "massive military response".

North Korea flew a Hwasong-12 over northern Japan last week, the first such overflight by a missile capable of carrying nukes, in a launch that Kim described as a "meaningful prelude" to containing Guam, the home of major USA military facilities, and more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific.

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President Trump has been tweeting about North Korea several times today, and has been criticized and mocked by intelligence and policy experts for his comments.

However, he said the hope was for denuclearisation, "because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea".

Media reports say that the test was the most powerful of the six, but there is no official measurement yet of the force of the hydrogen weapon.

Then, later: "The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea".

The UN Security Council plans to hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worldwide response to the test.

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During a meeting at his golf club in New Jersey last month, Trump said in response to the North Korean leader's threats against the United States that Pyongyang would "be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

Complicating U.S. relations with South Korea is a report by The Washington Post that Trump had instructed advisers to prepare to withdraw from a free-trade agreement with South Korea.

Japan and the US will seek to "exert maximum pressure" on North Korea after the country's sixth nuclear test, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed in a telephone call on Monday.

Earlier, the party's newspaper published photos of Kim examining what it said was a nuclear warhead that was to be fitted onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

South Korea's meteorological agency said Sunday's explosion was as much as six times the size of the fifth nuclear test, in September past year, and 11 times the size of the January 2016 detonation. The move has drawn global condemnation.

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Sunday's detonation builds on recent North Korean advances that include test launches in July of two ICBMs that are believed to be capable of reaching the mainland US.

US Threatens 'Massive Military Response' Against North Korea