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.
Seismologists have pointed at a particularly powerful underground bomb test earlier this month as a likely hydrogen bomb, the strongest munition the nation has ever tested.
(URGENT) N.K. FM says 'highest-level' actions in Kim's remarks may be H-bomb detonation in Pacific https://t.co/kRilqPNcDk— Yonhap News Agency (@YonhapNews) September 22, 2017
This would be the weapon’s first above-ground test.
North Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Ri Yong Ho reportedly said the powerful open-water test would be one potential “highest-level” countermeasure against new sanctions imposed by the United States and China.
Ri reportedly added that “We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong Un.”
Such a test would be considered a major provocation by Washington and its allies.
Kim responded earlier Thursday to Trump’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday where he mocked the North Korean leader as a “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission,” and said that if “forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Kim characterized the U.S. president’s speech to the world body as “unprecedented rude nonsense.”
He said Trump’s remarks “have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”
Kim said he is “thinking hard” about his response and that he would “tame the mentally deranged U. S. dotard with fire.”
The new sanctions give the Trump administration the power to penalize individual companies and institutions that trade with and finance North Korea. Last week, China announced that its central banks would stop doing business with the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.