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Bomb test a ‘deliberate poke in the eye’ to China

North Korea’s test of a hydrogen bomb Sunday was a “deliberate poke in the eye” to China, its only real ally.

>> Read more trending news

Chinese officials said North Korea “disregarded universal opposition of the international community,” CNN reported.

"We strongly urge North Korea side to face up to the firm will of the international community on the denuclearization of the peninsula, abide by relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, stop taking wrong actions that exacerbate the situation and are not in its own interest, and return to the track of resolving the issue through dialogue," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

>> North Korea confirms hydrogen bomb test

Mike Chinoy, a senior fellow at the U.S.-China Institute, said North Korea’s timing was a “deliberate poke in the eye.” The Chinese are currently hosting an economic summit with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, CNN reported.

>> Hydrogen bomb test: 5 things to know

"The Chinese have been pressing North Korea very hard not to stage a nuclear test," Chinoy told CNN. "It's a deliberate gesture of non-respect. And I think what it shows is that Kim Jong Un is extremely confident that he can provoke and push across the board without risking the kind of sweeping retaliation that would inflict enough pain upon him and his system that would force him to change his tactics."

North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test: 5 things to know

As tensions continue to build between the United States and North Korea, here are five things to know in the aftermath of Sunday’s hydrogen bomb test:

  • North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, said the test was conducted to “examine and confirm” using the hydrogen bomb as a payload for an intercontinental ballistic missile. "It also marked a very significant occasion in attaining the final goal of completing the state nuclear force," KCNA said.

  • The security chiefs for the United States and South Korea spoke in a 20-minute emergency telephone call after North Korea’s test. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster spoke with South Korea’s Chung Eui-yong, about an hour after the detonation.

  • North Korea tested two nuclear weapons in 2016, including one in September that occurred close to the country’s Foundation Day holiday.

  • South Korea’s weather agency said Sunday’s test appears to have been several times stronger than previous ones. The Korea Meteorological Administration estimated that the nuclear blast yield Sunday was between 50 to 60 kilotons. That is five to six times stronger than North Korea’s fifth test last September.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that it was a mistake to try to pressure Pyongyang into halting its nuclear missile program, Reuters reported.

North Korea: Mattis warns of ‘massive military response’ if North threatens U.S.

Sept. 3, 2017 4:45 PM EDT, WASHINGTON

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a warning to North Korea Sunday afternoon following the North’s testing of a powerful nuclear bomb, vowing a “massive military response” if the rogue nation threatens the U.S., CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

“Any threat to the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response," Mattis said in a statement outside of the White House after a meeting with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other members of Trump’s security team. 

Mattis said Trump asked for a briefing on the “many militay options” available for  addressing the escalating threat from North Korea.

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely, North Korea,” Mattis said after underscoring that the United Nations Security Council agrees North Korea is a threat, and is committed to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.


The Trump administration is drafting new economic sanctions against North Korea, following the North’s overnight testing of a powerful nuclear weapon, in its first test of a hydrogen bomb since President Donald Trump took office. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview on Fox News Sunday  that he is handling the new sanctions.

"I am going to draft a sanctions package to send to the president for his strong consideration that anybody that wants to do trade or business with them would be prevented from doing trade or business with us,” Mnuchin said.

"People need to cut off North Korea economically. This is unacceptable behavior," he said.

Trump responded to the North’s saber rattling with a series of tweets Sunday morning, calling North Korea  “a rogue nation” that has become “a great threat and embarrassment to China.”

He also backed up Mnuchin’s comments.

“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” the president said in a tweet.

Trump said he’s meeting with his national security staff Sunday afternoon to discuss North Korea’s latest actions.

The president also tweeted that North Korea’s words and actions “continue to be very hostile and dangerous” to the United States.

>> Related: North Korea nuclear test: What was tested; what is a hydrogen bomb; what happens next?

“South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!” Trump tweeted.

SEPT. 3, 2017 6:15 AM EDT

North Korea, in a broadcast on its state-run television network, confirmed it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb meant for intercontinental ballistic missiles, several media outlets reported Sunday. 

Seismological data from the United States Geological Survey showed that an explosion caused a 6.3-magnitude tremor in the northeastern section of North Korea, close to its Punggey-ri nuclear test site.

South Korea’s meteorological agency called it a "man-made" earthquake.

>> Hydrogen bomb test: 5 things to know

South Korea will hold a National Security Council meeting Sunday to discuss the incident, according to South Korea's Presidential office. The meeting will be presided over by President Moon Jae-in,  CNN reported.

U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and South Korean National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong held a 20-minute phone call to discuss North Korea's nuclear test, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing South Korea's presidential office. 

Chung Eui-yong, the chief security advisor for South Korean president Moon Jae-in, said his country will seek diplomatic measures to “completely isolate” North Korea.

“North Korea today ignored the repeated warnings from us and the international society and conducted a stronger nuclear test than before,” Chung told reporters.

Earlier, the Japan Meteorological Agency had observed a magnitude-6.1 tremor in North Korea, which showed a different waveform from a natural quake.

>> What you should know about North Korea

"The government confirms that North Korea conducted a nuclear test after examining information from the weather agency and other information," said Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister.

Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), says data from North Korea's nuclear test indicates that the country's nuclear program is "advancing rapidly."

"It constitutes yet another breach of the universally accepted norm against nuclear testing; a norm that has been respected by all countries but one since 1996," Zerbo said. "It also underlines yet again the urgent need for the international community to act on putting in place a legally binding ban on nuclear testing once and for all. I urge the DPRK to refrain from further nuclear testing and to join the 183 States Signatories who have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.”

China’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday urged North Korea to stop its “wrong” actions, Reuters reported. In a statement, the ministry said on its website that China “resolutely opposed” and “strongly condemned” North Korea’s actions. The ministry urged North Korea to respect U.N. Security Council resolutions, Reuters reported.

Russia’s foreign ministry said North Korea’s action “deserves the strongest condemnation.”

In a statement Sunday, the ministry urged “immediate dialogue and negotiations.” It added that Russia is ready to participate in negotiations, “including in the context of the Russian-Chinese road map.”

Under that proposal, North Korea would suspend nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea suspending their joint military exercises, CNN reported.

MTV VMAs: Transgender service members walk red carpet, speak out about military ban

Just days after President Donald Trump issued guidance on his transgender military ban, trans service members walked the red carpet Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards.

>> PHOTOS: Stars arrive for the 2017 MTV VMAs

According to Billboard, MTV invited Air Force Airman 1st Class Sterling James Crutcher, Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan B. Ireland, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Akira Wyatt, Army veteran Laila Ireland and former Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brynn Tannehill to the awards show. They joined Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD.

>> PHOTOS: 2017 MTV VMAs

"Any patriot who is putting their own life at risk to fight for our freedom and stand for equality is a hero at MTV and to young people everywhere," MTV President Chris McCarthy said in a statement, Billboard reported.

In a pre-show interview with MTV, Peace offered some advice to young trans people pursuing a military career in the wake of Trump's ban.

>> Read more trending news

"It doesn't matter who you are; our nation is only safe if we have the best and brightest in our country serving the military," Peace said. "There was a time where blacks couldn't serve, where women couldn't serve, where gays and lesbians couldn't serve, and there was a time when trans people couldn't serve. But today, the Armed Forces are open to everyone, regardless of your race, gender, religion or anything else. If you're willing to serve our country and you're among the most qualified in the nation, you should be welcome in the United States Armed Forces just like everyone else."

>> Watch the clip here

Tannehill spoke to CNN about what's next for the trans service members.

"Our people are naturally concerned about what's going to happen next, but we're going to continue to do our jobs day-in, day-out, the way we've done before and the way we'll continue to do."

>> Watch the clip here

Navy recovers remains of 10 sailors killed in USS John S. McCain crash

Update 9:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 27: The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said on Sunday that officials have recovered the bodies of all 10 sailors killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship on Aug. 21 near Singapore.

Officials continue to investigate the collision.

Original report: The U.S. Navy on Thursday identified a sailor whose remains were found after the USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship near Singapore earlier this week.

>> Read more trending news

Divers recovered the remains of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, officials said.

Nine other sailors remain missing. Navy officials identified them as:

  • Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, from Missouri
  • Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, from Texas
  • Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, from Maryland
  • Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, from Ohio
  • Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, from Maryland
  • Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, from New York
  • Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, from Connecticut
  • Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, from Texas
  • Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, from Illinois 

Crews searched a 2,100-square mile area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore after the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC and the USS John S. McCain collided on Monday. Five sailors were injured.

>> Related: 10 sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with tanker

Divers continued Thursday to search the flooded compartments of the USS John S. McCain, although officials said the efforts had shifted from a rescue to a recovery mission.

Monday’s crash was the second major collision involving a U.S. Navy warship from the 7th Fleet in two months, according to The Navy Times. It is the fourth accident involving a naval vessel in the Pacific this year, according to The Washington Post.

Monday’s accident prompted officials to launch an investigation of the 7th Fleet. Navy Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, said the Navy will take a one-day operational pause in response to the accident, to “ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measures to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world.”

>> Related: Navy plans operation pause, calls for review of collisions in the Pacific

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the commander of the 7th Fleet was dismissed in the aftermath of the crash.

Military to get guidelines for Trump transgender ban 'soon,' reports say

The White House is expected to give the Defense Department the authority to bar transgender people from enlisting in the U.S. military in the coming days, one month after President Donald Trump announced the ban on Twitter, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The White House memo would also give Defense Secretary James Mattis discretion over whether transgender troops can stay in the military, based on a service member’s ability to deploy, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Journal was the first to report on the memo Wednesday night.

The guidelines would give Mattis six months to enforce the ban, The New York Times reported. An unidentified source told the newspaper that the contents of the memo were not finalized as of Wednesday night.

In a statement obtained by CNN, Pentagon officials said they had yet to receive formal guidance from the White House on how Trump’s announced ban would work.

"The (Defense) Department continues to focus on our mission of defending our nation and ongoing operations against our foes, while ensuring all service members are treated with respect," the statement said.

>> Related: Joint Chiefs: Transgender policy won't change until Pentagon gets it in writing from Trump

Gay and lesbian service members have been able to openly serve in the military since 2011, according to NPRCurrent Department of Defense policy allows for transgender people to serve openly and says individuals “can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals.”

Trump announced the ban in a series of tweets last month.

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump wrote on July 26. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

The announcement came as a surprise to military leaders and politicians. In a letter to top military officials, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, wrote that there would be “no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance.”

>> Related: Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military

Estimates on the number of transgender troops in the military vary, although a 2016 report from the Rand Corp. estimated that as many as 6,300 transgender service members are on active duty.

USS John S. McCain collision: Remains found during search for missing sailors

UPDATE, 7:08 a.m. ET Tuesday: The Associated Press reports that some remains of Navy sailors were found in a compartment of the USS John McCain, according to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

A number of bodies were found on the ship, and one body was found by Malaysia, the AP reported.

Read more here.

ORIGINAL STORY: The United States Navy said it will continue to investigate the collision involving the USS John S. McCain as the vessel’s damage is being assessed.

As that happens, the U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs said in a news post that search efforts are continuing for the 10 soldiers who are still missing. Five sailors are injured.

>> Read more trending news

“Search and rescue efforts continue in coordination with local authorities,” it said in the post. “Royal Malaysian Navy ships KD Handalan and two coastal patrol craft Petir (12) and Pang Alang (39) as well as two Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency vessels are on scene today. 

“Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships Noble Pearl (PCG 54) and Noble Knight (PCG 56) joined search efforts as well.”

Navy Adm. John Richardson has ordered a probe into the collision, The Associated Press reported.

The fleet said the guided-missile destroyer “sustained significant hull damage that resulted in flooding to nearby compartments.” 

“It is the second such incident in a very short period of time – inside of three months – and very similar as well,” Richardson said at the Pentagon Monday. “It is the last of a series of incidents in the Pacific fleet in particular and that gives great cause for concern that there is something out there we are not getting at.”

An immediate explanation for the collision was not given; however, cyber security experts speculated that the ship could have been hacked, according to a McClatchy report.

Richardson said there were “no indications right now” of “cyber intrusion or sabotage,” but the investigation would “consider all possibilities.”

In the coming weeks, the Navy said it would take a one-day pause in operations to identify any steps that may need to be taken to ensure safety.

What is Trump’s plan for Afghanistan?

President Donald Trump spoke to the nation from Fort Myer on Monday night.

>> Read more trending news

“I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia,” he said. 

  • The United States “must seek an honorable and enduring outcome” worthy of the sacrifices that have been made.

  • The consequences of a rapid exit are “both predictable and unacceptable.” Trump said that would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would “instantly fill.”

  • Security threats in Afghanistan and the general region “are immense.” Trump called out Pakistan for giving safe haven to “agents of chaos, violence and terror.” 

In June 2011, President Barack Obama announced that 10,000 troops would come home by the end of the year, with an additional 23,000 returning by 2012. Monday night, Trump said he was given “a bad and very complex hand.” But he added that “one way or another, these problems will be solved.”

Trump said the United States must “stop the resurgence of safe havens that threaten America.”

The president also announced the “core pillar” of his new strategy, shifting from a time-based approach to one based on conditions.

  • Trump said he will not talk about numbers of troops or plans for further military activities. “America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out,” he said. “I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”

  • Trump said he will integrate all instruments of American power, including diplomatic, economic and military.

  • Afghanistan, the president said, must “take ownership of their future.” “ We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists,” he said.

  • Trump also vowed a new approach toward Pakistan. “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan,” he said. “It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.” 

Lastly, Trump promised military members that they would have the “necessary tools” to make U.S. strategy work.

“Micromanagement from Washington, D.C., does not win battles,” he said. “They are won in the field drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline soldiers.”

Navy plans operation pause, calls for review of collisions in the Pacific

The U.S. Navy will take a one-day operational pause in the coming weeks to “ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measure to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world,” Navy Adm. John Richardson, who is chief of naval operations, said on Monday.

The pause was announced on the same day officials said they were launching a broad investigation into the Pacific fleet in light of recent accidents, including Monday morning’s collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship in the waters of Southeast Asia.

>> Read more trending news

Ten sailors remained missing Monday, hours after the USS John S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer, and the 600-foot Alnic MC collided off the coast of Singapore, Navy officials said. Five other sailors were injured.

A search for the missing sailors was ongoing Monday.

"This is the second major collision in the last three months, and is the latest in a series of major incidents, particularly in the Pacific theater,” Richardson said in a video statement released Monday. “This trend demands more forceful action.”

The USS John S. McCain, named for Republican Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather, who were both Navy admirals, was pulled on Monday evening to Changi Naval Base in Singapore. The crash left the ship with significant hull damage, allowing water to flood into nearby compartments, naval officials said.

“I don't want to speculate how the incident happened, but this area -- it's a busy area, considering the two vessels are about to enter the traffic separation scheme,” said Adm. Datuk Zulkifili Abu Bakarthe, head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, according to The Navy Times.

The newspaper reported that about 80,000 vessels travel the strait each year.

>> Related: 10 sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with tanker

A defense official told The Associated Press earlier Monday that Richardson directed Adm. Phil Davidson, head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces, to lead the investigation.

The unnamed official told the AP that “Richardson wants to ensure there aren’t bigger problems that may be masked by the high pace of ship operations in the Pacific region.”

Richardson said the investigation would include “trends in operational tempo, performance, maintenance, equipment and personnel,” along with “surface warfare training and career development, including tactical and navigational proficiency.”

Monday’s crash was the second major collision involving a U.S. Navy warship from the 7th Fleet in two months, according to The Navy Times. It is the fourth accident involving a naval vessel in the Pacific this year, according to The Washington Post.

Seven sailors died and three others were injured on June 17 when a merchant vessel and the USS Fitzgerald collided in the Philippine Sea, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Officials determined that the collision was avoidable and dismissed the ship’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief after the crash.

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