South Korea responds to North's nuclear test with live-fire drills
South Korea has responded to North Korea's sixth nuclear test by conducting a live-fire missile drill simulating an offensive against Pyongyang's nuclear test site. The drill came as Washington warned that any threat to itself and its allies would lead to a "massive military response." The North claims it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, capable of being launched from a long-range missile.
On September 3, North Korea said it had successfully tested a missile-ready hydrogen bomb which is several times more powerful than an atomic bomb. The development came hours after an earth tremor was detected by seismologists which was 9.8 times more powerful than the one recorded during the North's fifth nuclear test. The test was met with international condemnation.
July 28: North tested an ICBM which has purportedly brought the entire US within its strike range. August 6: UN imposes fresh sanctions on Pyongyang. August 9: North Korea threatens to attack the US Pacific territory of Guam after Trump threatens Pyongyang with "fire and fury". August 29: North Korea fires a missile which flew over Japan in an "unprecedented threat."
The South Korean military fired ground-launched ballistic missiles and rockets from fighter jets. The military said the simulated target being considered was the North Korean nuclear test site at Punggye-ri. "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," it said.
US President Donald Trump condemned the test as "hostile" and "dangerous", and called the North a "rogue nation." He said America would consider halting trade with any country having business ties with North Korea. The North conducts 90% of its trade with China. US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the North's threats would be met with an "effective and overwhelming" military response.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the latest North Korean nuclear test is an "absurd strategic mistake" and has called for the "strongest possible" response. He urged the UN Security Council to pass sanctions to "completely isolate" the North. Meanwhile, China has expressed "strong condemnation," saying Pyongyang "had ignored the international community's widespread opposition."