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Posted: September 02, 2017

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


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North Korea: Mattis warns of ‘massive military response’ if North threatens U.S.
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (center) looking at a metal casing with two bulges at an undisclosed location.

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

SEOUL, South Korea —

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.

SEPT. 3, 2017 1:30 PM EDT, WASHINGTON

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.


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