North Korea: powerful nuclear weapon could be tested over Pacific Ocean, warns foreign minister

Japan is bracing itself, amid warnings from Pyongyang's foreign minister regarding 'the strongest hydrogen bomb test', just hours after Trump's threatening UN speech

22 September 2017, 11:05am
North Korean state media released picture of Kim Jong-un delivering his statement (Photo: Reuters)
North Korean state media released picture of Kim Jong-un delivering his statement (Photo: Reuters)
North Korea's foreign minister warned Thursday that Pyongyang could test a powerful nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean in response to US President Donald Trump's threats of military action.

This came just hours after North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, said that Donald Trump would “pay dearly” for threatening to destroy his regime, during his UN speech on Tuesday.

Ri Yong Ho, told reports in New York that the decision, ultimately, was up to his boss:

'Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know, since it is what Kim Jong-un does' said North Korea's Foreign Minister, Ri Yong Ho (Photo: the Indian Express)
'Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know, since it is what Kim Jong-un does' said North Korea's Foreign Minister, Ri Yong Ho (Photo: the Indian Express)
“This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean. Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know, since it is what Kim Jong-un does”, said Ri.

In a rare direct statement, Kim said he “will reconsider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history”.

“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue”, said Kim. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire”. Dotard, here, means a senile old person.

Kim went on to say that Trump’s comments were reflective of “mentally deranged behavior”.

Earlier this month, North Korea detonated a powerful hydrogen bomb at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site. The explosion caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which was felt over the Chinese border in Yanji.

Testing a device beyond its own borders, in this way, would mark a major escalation in tensions over the regime’s missile and nuclear weapons programmes. Analysis claimed that a nuclear test involving a missile could be “truly terrifying”, if something goes wrong.

Speculation is growing that Pyongyang will add to its verbal response to Trump’s UN speech with some sort of military provocation, possibly a test of a Hwasong-14 missile which, in theory, has the potential to reach Hawaii and Alaska.

While the North has claimed that it is able to mount a miniaturized nuclear weapon on a missile, the regime has yet to offer definitive proof. The US and Japan have warned they will shoot down any missile they consider to be a threat to Japanese territory.

Meanwhile, the White House took another step in its “peaceful pressure” campaign to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear program, expanding sanctions on the state and those who do business with it.

Though the majority of North Korea’s imports come from China, Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary said “this action is directed at everyone” and the steps are “in no way specifically directed at China”.