AFP — Sept 3, 2017
Amid alarm from world leaders over North Korea’s claim that it can now, for the first time, put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile, Donald Trump upped the ante on Sunday with a series of provocative statements.
Asked outside church in Washington whether plans to attack the isolated, hostile dictatorship, the US president replied: “We’ll see.”
He and the first lady were whisked back to the White House from St John’s Episcopal church in an SUV. Shortly afterwards, Trump tweeted: “I will be meeting General Kelly [John Kelly, chief of staff], General Mattis [James Mattis, defense secretary] and other military leaders at the White House to discuss North Korea. Thank you.”
Earlier in the day, after news emerged overnight that North Korea was believed to have detonated a large hydrogen bomb in a test in the north of the country, deepening the biggest foreign policy challenge faced by his administration, Trump posted a series of tweets.
“North Korea has conducted a major nuclear test,” the president tweeted on Sunday morning. “Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”
He added: “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”
And he also accused South Korea of favouring a policy of “appeasement”, telling Seoul that “will not work” because the North Koreans “only understand one thing!”
In a surprise announcement on state TV, North Korea said it had tested a powerful hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to an intercontinental ballistic missile, in a move that is expected to increase pressure on Trump to defuse the growing nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.
Pyongyang said the test, its sixth since 2006, had been a “complete success” and involved a two-stage thermonuclear weapon of unprecedented strength.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement, saying Trump would meet with his national security team later on Sunday to discuss the North Korean nuclear test.
“The national security team is monitoring this closely,” she wrote. “The president and his national security team will have a meeting to discuss further later today. We will provide updates as necessary.”