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North Korea threatens H-bomb over the Pacific

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North Korea threatened to explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the North if it continued with its nuclear weapons program, according to Pyongyang’s foreign minister.
SEOUL—North Korea threatened to explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the North if it continued with its nuclear weapons program, according to Pyongyang’s foreign minister.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, in response to Trump’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, warned the United States of the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”
Kim, who stoked global alarm in September by testing a hydrogen bomb that could fit a missile, did not detail what kind of response he planned.
But hours after Kim’s statement was carried by North Korea’s state news agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, told reporters in New York that Kim could be thinking of a more high-stakes nuclear test.
“I think that it could be an H-bomb test of an unprecedented level perhaps over the Pacific,” he said.
But he added: “It is up to our leader so I do not know well.”
‘Truly terrifying’
Such a test would be considered a major provocation by Washington and its allies.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said such a test could mean a nuclear-armed missile flying over Japan.
He said North Korea might conduct an hydrogren bomb test with a medium-range or intercontinental ballistic missile, given its recent advances in missile and nuclear weapons development.
“We cannot deny the possibility it may fly over our country,” he said.
Vipin Narang, a nuclear strategy expert at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that such a test could pose a danger to shipping and aircraft, even if the North declared a keep-out zone.
“And if the test doesn’t go according to plan, you could have populations at risk, too,” he said. “We are talking about putting a live nuclear warhead on a missile that has been tested only a handful of times. It is truly terrifying if something goes wrong,” Narang said.
Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official now an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said Kim’s statement also indicated that North Korea would respond to Trump with its most aggressive missile test yet.
Another option
That might include firing a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan to a range of around 7,000 kilometers to display a capability to reach Hawaii or Alaska.
KCNA, quoting Kim, described Trump as a “mentally deranged” leader who would “pay dearly” for his threat to destroy North Korea.

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