Conducting their sixth nuclear test to date, North Korea is now claiming to have a hydrogen bomb. Just hours before the launch on Sunday, photographs show Kim Jong-Un allegedly inspecting a thermo-nuclear warhead. The blast, carried out just after noon local time, triggered a 6.5 magnitude earthquake on the peninsula.
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Faced with the possibility of Pyongyang having a nuclear weapon, the U.S and her allies are preparing for the worst. President Trump met with Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, to discuss potential solutions on Sunday afternoon. After the meeting, Sec. Mattis warned of a “massive and overwhelming” military response.
Stressing that the U.S is not seeking to destroy any country, Mattis did suggest that military options may be the only way to reign in the reckless dictator. Additionally, President Trump floated the idea of cutting off trade with China, as another means of curbing the flow of money into the regime’s nuclear program.
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In addition to U.S. military options, South Korea is also preparing for a pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang should it be necessary. Military officials conducted a live-fire drill early Monday morning, launching missiles from both land and air. Moving to a state of high-alert, officials are readying for potential conflict.
“The training demonstrates the South Korean military’s resolve to destroy not only the origin of provocation but also the enemy’s leadership and supporting forces if they threaten the security of our people,” said Army spokesman Col. Roh Jae-cheon, to the quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
Nevertheless, generating a yield of several hundred kilotons, the bomb is a disturbing sign according to experts. “This is a crisis, the size of this device is a city-buster. And, the yield of this blast is significant,” said David Albright. Albright is the President of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, a leading expert on North Korea.