The Latest: US: NKorea bomb test would draw tough response
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and North Korea (all times local):
A senior U.S. diplomat says a North Korean hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific would be an “unprecedented act of aggression” by the communist nation.
Susan Thornton is acting assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific. She told reporters Friday that such a weapons test would be “outrageous” and would draw a “concerted and determined international response.”
Thornton declined, however, to specify what the U.S. would do.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Thursday that his country was considering the “highest level of hardline countermeasure in history” in response to President Donald Trump’s recent threat to “totally destroy” the North if it attacks.
North Korea’s foreign minister later said that could be a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean if Kim orders it.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is “being tested” by the strongest sanctions ever put in place by the U.S. and the international community.
Tillerson won’t say what the U.S. response would be if Kim’s government tested a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean. Tillerson says it would be President Donald Trump’s decision, but he adds that all military options remain on the table.
He says Trump’s threat to totally destroy North Korea shows the president takes “very seriously” his responsibility to protect Americans.
Tillerson says American diplomatic efforts “continue unabated” to try to bring Kim’s government to the negotiating table. He says the U.S. keeps pressing Russia and China to do more to squeeze Pyongyang economically.
President Donald Trump is again assailing North Korea Kim Jong Un, saying that he “will be tested like never before.”
In an escalation of the war of words between the United States and North Korea, Trump sent a pre-dawn tweet Friday saying, “Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”
Trump’s broadside follows a rare statement issued by Kim, branding the U.S. president as “deranged” and warning he will “pay dearly” for his threat to “totally destroy” the North if it attacks. Hours later, North Korea’s foreign minister reportedly said his country may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
President Donald Trump has added economic action to his fiery military threats against North Korea, authorizing stiffer new sanctions in response to the Koreans’ nuclear weapons advances.
Trump’s latest steps to punish foreign companies that deal with the North was the latest salvo in a U.S.-led campaign to isolate and impoverish the government of Kim Jong Un until it halts the missile and nuclear tests. Trump announced the measures Thursday as he met leaders from South Korea and Japan, the nations most immediately imperiled by North Korea’s threats of a military strike.
Hours later, Kim branded Trump as “deranged.” The rare statement from the North Korean leader responded to Trump’s combative speech days earlier where he not only issued the warning of potential obliteration for the isolated nation, but also mocked the North’s young autocrat as a “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission.”