North Korea’s next big move

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North Korea looks like it may be getting ready to launch a ballistic missile — possibly an ICBM — according to South Korean media on Monday.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said that the rogue regime appeared to be planning a future launch to prove its ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons. However, there is no indication when this might take place.

Chang Kyung-soo, an official with South Korea’s Defense Ministry, told lawmakers that Seoul was seeing preparations in the North for an ICBM test but didn’t provide details about how officials had reached that assessment, according to a Fox News report.

Following U.S. warnings to North Korea of a “massive military response,” South Korea fired missiles into the sea on Monday to simulate an attack on the North’s main nuclear test site a day after Pyongyang detonated its largest ever thermonuclear test explosion.

The United States and South Korea have continuously responded to North Korea’s defiant pursuit of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can strike the United States, to no avail.

The North’s most dramatic advancement came Sunday in an underground test of what leader Kim Jong Un’s government claimed was a hydrogen bomb. It was the communist dictatorship’s sixth nuclear test since 2006.

Chang also said the yield from the latest nuclear detonation appeared to be about 50 kilotons, which would mark a “significant increase” from North Korea’s past nuclear tests.

In a series of tweets, President Trump gave a subtle warning to China by threatening to put a stop to all trade with countries that do business with the North. He also faulted South Korea for what he called “talk of appeasement.”

South Korea’s military said its live-fire exercise was meant to “strongly warn” Pyongyang. The drill involved F-15 fighter jets and the country’s land-based “Hyunmoo” ballistic missiles firing into the Sea of Japan.

Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff said that the target was set considering the distance to the North’s test site and the exercise was aimed at practicing precision strikes and cutting off reinforcements.

Each new North Korean missile and nuclear test gives Pyongyang’s scientists invaluable information that allows them to leap forward in their pursuit of building a bomb capable of creating great destruction. It’s believed that North Korea has amassed a growing arsenal of nuclear bombs in pursuit of a multistage, long-range missile that could eventually carry smaller versions of those bombs.

Both diplomacy and severe sanctions have failed to stop the rogue nation from their dogged determination over decades to achieve nuclear mastery.

When asked by a reporter if he would attack the North, President Trump said, “We’ll see.”

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said after meeting Trump and his national security team. “But as I said, we have many options to do so.”

Mattis said the U.S. will answer any threat from the North with a “massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming.”

Mattis also said the international community is unified in demanding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and that Kim should know Washington’s commitment to Japan and South Korea is unshakeable.

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