President Donald Trump suggested a military attack on North Korea was on the table, hours after the Pyongyang regime claimed it had conducted the nation’s first thermonuclear test on Sunday.
North Korean media outlets claimed the rogue state had successfully conducted its sixth nuclear weapons test, and the first using a hydrogen bomb.
The test resulted in a 6.3 magnitude tremor, the US Geological Survey reported.
“The power is 10 or 20 times or even more than previous ones,” said Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University, according to Reuters. “That scale is to the level where anyone can say a hydrogen bomb test.” Similarly, a representative of the Japan Meteorological Agency said according to Reuters that the tremors were "at least ten times as powerful" as Pyongyang's last atomic explosion a year ago.
Later on Sunday, reporters questioned President Trump as he left a Washington DC church, asking the president how White House would respond to Pyongyang’s first thermonuclear test, if it were confirmed.
When asked whether he would launch a military strike on North Korea, Trump answered “We’ll see.”
Last week, Trump also suggested armed force may be used against the rogue regime, saying that “all options are on the table.”
The president also said the US may impose a full embargo on North Korea, extending the ban on trade with North Korea to all states doing business with the totalitarian regime.
“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” Trump tweeted.
If implemented, the embargo would have tremendous implications for China, a major US trade partner – but also Pyongyang’s patron and sole ally. Chinese sale of food to North Korea and its purchase of Korean coal play a crucial role in maintaining the country’s economy. A comprehensive US embargo would force China to choose between its $650 billion-a-year trade partner, and its diplomatically isolated, economically stagnant ally whose economy is smaller than 48 of the 50 US states.
President Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Fox News that he was preparing a comprehensive sanctions package aimed at terminating all international “trade and other business” with North Korea.
“I will draft a sanctions bill and send it to the president. We will work with our allies. We will work with China. But people need to cut off North Korea economically."