pacific

North Korea may consider H-bomb test in Pacific, Kim calls Trump ‘deranged’

SEOUL/NEW YORK (Reuters) – North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make a “mentally deranged” Trump pay dearly for his threats.

Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, with whom he has traded insults over recent weeks. South Korea said it was the first direct statement of its kind by a North Korean leader.

However, Kim’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said in televised remarks North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale on the Pacific Ocean.

Ri, who was talking to reporters in New York ahead of a planned address later this week, also said he did not know Kim’s exact thoughts.

Japan, the only country ever to suffer an atomic attack, described the threat as “totally unacceptable”.

Trump said in his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday he would “totally destroy” North Korea, a country of 26 million people, if it threatened the United States and its allies, and called Kim a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.

Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his own nuclear program was “the correct path”.

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” Kim said in the statement carried by the KCNA state news agency.

“SLEEPWALKING INTO WAR”

In a separate report, KCNA made a rare criticism of official Chinese media, saying their comments on the North’s nuclear program had damaged ties and suggested Beijing, its only major ally, had sided with Washington.

Singling out the official People’s Daily and its more nationalistic sister publication, the Global Times, KCNA said Chinese media was “openly resorting to interference in the internal affairs of another country” and driving a wedge between the two countries.

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North Korean leader urges more missile launches targeting Pacific

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for more weapons launches targeting the Pacific Ocean to advance his country’s ability to contain Guam, state media said Wednesday, a day after Pyongyang for the first time flew a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan.

Tuesday’s aggressive missile launch — likely the longest ever from North Korea — over a close US ally sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct annual military drills. The Korean Central News Agency said the launch was a “muscle-flexing” countermeasure to the Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint exercises that conclude Thursday. Pyongyang views the drills as invasion rehearsals and often conducts weapons tests and escalates its rhetoric when they are held.

The KCNA report said the missile was an intermediate-range Hwasong-12, which the North first successfully tested in May and threatened to fire into waters near Guam earlier this month.

Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over the launch that he called a “meaningful prelude” to containing Guam and said North Korea would continue to watch the US demeanor before it decides future actions, KCNA said. The US territory is home to key US military bases that North Korea finds threatening.

Kim also said it’s “necessary to positively push forward the work for putting the strategic force on a modern basis by conducting more ballistic rocket launching drills with the Pacific as a target in the future.”

(FILES) This file photo taken on May 10, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un waving from a balcony of the Grand People's Study House to participants of a military parade and mass rally on Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang. North Korea launched an apparent missile into the Sea of Japan on August 29, 2017, South Korea's military said. The North fired the "unidentified projectile" from Pyongyang at around 5:57 am (2057 GMT), according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. / AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones

The launch seemed designed to show that North Korea can back up a threat to target Guam, if it chooses to do so, while also establishing a potentially dangerous precedent that could see future missiles flying over Japan.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled around 2,700 kilometers (1,677 miles) and reached a maximum height of 550 kilometers (341 miles) as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

President Donald Trump said North Korea had signaled its “contempt for its neighbors” and that “all options are on the table” in terms of a US response.

Trump said in his statement that “threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world.”

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the launch, which came less than a month after the council imposed its toughest-yet sanctions on North Korea. The statement released after a meeting Tuesday evening in New York doesn’t mention any potential new sanctions but calls for strict implementation of existing ones.

Any new test worries Washington and its allies because it presumably puts North Korea a step closer to its goal of an arsenal of nuclear missiles that can reliably target the United States. Tuesday’s test, however, looks especially aggressive to Washington, Seoul and Tokyo.

Residents cover their heads while taking shelter during an evacuation drill for North Korean missiles in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture on August 30, 2017, one day after a North Korean missile test that passed over Japan.Nuclear-armed North Korea said on August 30 that it had fired a missile over Japan the previous day, the first time it has ever acknowledged doing so. / AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / STR / Japan OUT