North Korea's H-bomb threat comes with potential risks

Yolanda Curtis
September 23, 2017

"I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire".

But he said there were questions about North Korea's technical capabilities and Washington did not give "too much credence" to Pyongyang taking such action.

US President Donald Trump looks on during his meeting with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the UN General Assembly in New York, US, September 21, 2017. Firing the missile increases the risk considerably.

Clinton tried to pay the regime in exchange for a nuclear freeze while North Korea secretly processed nuclear material, Bush labeled North Korea part of the axis of evil damaging relations beyond fix, and Obama pursued a policy of strategic patience while North Korea conducted four nuclear tests and dozens of missile tests.

But North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in NY that "it could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific".

Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, released a statement on Thursday. "Now that the feasibility of a North Korean thermonuclear weapon has been demonstrated, the next step will be to produce an even bigger bang".

Yonhap news agency reported that Ri told reporters that a response "could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific".

If Pyongyang makes good on the threat, it would mean marrying the two most powerful weapons known to man: a fusion-type nuclear weapon and a ballistic missile. North Korea frequently times high-profile missile tests and other events to coincide with key anniversaries.

In addition to Kim's statement, a separate article published by North Korea's state media seemed equally at unease with Trump's strong stance.

Kim, a 33-year-old leader who assumed power after his father died of a heart attack in 2011, was clearly infuriated by Trump's speech to world leaders on Tuesday. It does, however, raise many questions, including: How would the North undertake such a nuclear test, what risks might it pose to Japan and how would the US respond?

The additional sanctions on Pyongyang, including on its shipping and trade networks, showed Trump was giving more time for economic pressure to weigh on North Korea.

It came in the wake of the U.S. widening the existing economic sanctions against the regime in Pyongyang on Thursday.

Under the diplomatic Joint Framework Agreement reached by President Bill Clinton in 1994, the north was provided aid, including two light nuclear reactors, in exchange for it ending its nuclear weapons program.

South Korea said it was the first direct statement of its kind by a North Korean leader.

The order also issued a 180-day ban on vessels and aircraft that have visited North Korea from traveling to the United States. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said banks doing business in North Korea would not be allowed to operate in the United States.

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