US Warns Of "Massive Military Response" To North Korea Threat

Trump says

Trump says"we'll see if U.S. attacks North Korea following test of"missile-ready nuclear bomb

US President Donald Trump was briefed on all possible military options against North Korea during a meeting with his national security team, Mattis said.

Any threat to the US or its allies will be met with "massive" retaliation, US Defence Secretary James Mattis warned on Sunday, after North Korea claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb.

North Korea claimed "perfect success" in an underground test of what it called a hydrogen bomb - potentially vastly more destructive than an atomic bomb.

Following Trump's Twitter scolding of South Korea, a longtime US ally, Mattis said after the White House meeting that "the commitments among the allies are ironclad", referencing Japan, South Korea and the United States.

"Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming", Mattis said.

North Korea flew a Hwasong-12 over northern Japan last week, the first such overflight by a missile capable of carrying nukes, in a launch that Kim described as a "meaningful prelude" to containing Guam, the home of major US military facilities, and more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific.

Officials in China, where the blast was felt as a tremor, said they were carrying out emergency radiation testing along the border with North Korea.

Mattis said Washington was not looking for the "total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea".

North Korean nationals could also be prevented from working overseas, and its top officials could be subjected to an asset freeze.

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State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert tweeted Sunday morning that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also is expected to attend the White House's North Korea meeting, was making calls to his counterparts, including South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

The test came hours after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected what state media said was a missile-ready hydrogen bomb.

South Korea's meteorological agency said Sunday's explosion was as much as six times the size of the fifth nuclear test, in September a year ago, and 11 times the size of the January 2016 detonation.

Members of Congress expressed alarm at the North's test and emphasized strengthening USA missile defenses.

The nuclear test also drew strong condemnation from other leaders worldwide.

The news report claimed the weapon was created to fit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. China also asked North Korea to "cease incorrect actions that worsen tensions and run against its own interests, and return to dialogue to resolve the problem".

Experts say it is almost impossible to verify with certainty North Korea's claim that it detonated a hydrogen bomb, which is also known as a thermonuclear weapon, or whether it can actually be used successfully on a missile.

Moon "will never allow North Korea to continue advancing its nuclear and missile technologies", said Moon's national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong.

Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro said on ABC's "This Week" that he does not think Trump's threat last month to rain "fire and fury" down upon North Korea has helped the situation.

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