Seoul media say North might test nuke in Pacific

Seoul media say North might test nuke in Pacific

South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that North Korea's response to new sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump "may" include a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.

The country's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, who was due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Friday but has since dropped out, told reporters in NY that the ultimate decision, however, was up to his boss, Kim Jong Un.

The president's repeated attempts to challenge Kim, using language remarkably similar to that typically found in North Korean propaganda, seemed to reach a zenith Tuesday when he vowed from the United Nations dais to "totally destroy North Korea" if provoked.

"It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific", North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters.

Put aside for a moment the name-calling - "Rocket Man" from Donald Trump earlier this week, "mentally deranged US dotard" from Kim Jong Un in comments released Friday.

Such a test would be considered a major provocation by Washington and its allies.

Kim said he is "thinking hard" about his response and that he would "tame the mentally deranged U". The country could still get a slot at another time. He announced the measures as he met leaders from South Korea and Japan, the nations most immediately imperiled by North Korea's threats of a military strike.

In recent months, it has twice tested intercontinental ballistic missiles that could conceivably target the USA mainland if perfected, launched two intermediate-range missiles that went soaring over US ally Japan, and carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test yet.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan handed back earlier gains and was down 0.4 percent.

Some analysts saw a clear sign that North Korea will ramp up its already brisk pace of weapons testing, which has included missiles meant to target US forces throughout Asia and on the USA mainland.

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Trump also praised China on Thursday for what he said was instructions to its banks to cut off business with North Korea.

Trump's messengers backed him up in television appearances Thursday.

“North Koreas nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime, ” Trump said as he joined South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for lunch.

The order boosts the US Treasury's ability to clamp down on individuals and companies that finance and facilitate trade with the reclusive state.

North Korea says it needs to have a nuclear deterrent because the United States intends to invade it. Analysts say the North is likely to soon achieve its objective of possessing nuclear missiles capable of reaching any part of the USA homeland. He said the order would also allow the U.S. to identify new industries - including textiles, fishing and manufacturing - as potential targets for future actions.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said banks doing business in North Korea would not be allowed to operate in the United States as well.

North Korea's official news agency has ridiculed the recent United Nations sanctions as "the dirty excrement of the reactionaries of history".

The spokesman, Lu Kang, said Beijing complies with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

He added that United States continues to seek a "complete denuclearisation of North Korea". The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

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