Does North Korean H-bomb threat push US closer to war?

Reuters

In his most recent remarks, President Trump tweeted on Friday that Kim Jong-un is a "madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people" and "will be tested like never before".

North Korea's Foreign Minister seemed to confirm this on the sidelines of a global United Nations meeting in NY, telling reporters that Kim's comments could mean that North Korea will conduct an H-bomb test in the Pacific.

Thousands of people marched through the square, past portraits of Kim's predecessors, his father and grandfather Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, behind a banner proclaiming: "Let us safeguard with our lives the central committee of the party headed by the great comrade Kim Jong-Un".

Trump announced the measures Thursday as he met leaders from South Korea and Japan, the nations most immediately imperiled by North Korea's threats of a military strike.

Ri reportedly added that "We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong Un".

President Donald Trump is meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday about the ongoing North Korea crisis.

Trump was "a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician", said Kim on Friday.

China was reported to have shut down access to its banking system in North Korea, with Trump praising Chinese President Xi Jinping for what he called a "very bold" move.

However, the rhetoric was starting to rattle some in the worldwide community.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that would enable the United States to sanction individual companies and institutions that finance trade with North Korea.

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North Korea's six nuclear tests to date have all been underground, and experts say an atmospheric test, which would be the first since one by China in 1980, would be proof of the success of its weapons program.

"Sure, I've had my problems with President Trump, such as everything he has said and done", he continued, "but I'm not going to stand here, as an American, and let somebody from another country talk smack about our president".

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously imposed nine rounds of sanctions on North Korea since 2006, the latest this month capping fuel supplies to the isolated state.

A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington was taking Kim's threat seriously and added that any atmospheric test would be a "game-changer".

But this is not the first example of North Korea's caustic comments. "Parties should meet each other half way, by addressing each other's legitimate concerns".

There has been a widening linguistic divide between the rival Koreas, but "neukdari" has the same meaning in North Korea as in the South, according to a South Korean organization involved in a now-stalled project to produce a joint dictionary.

The sentiments were echoed by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who said "military hysteria is not just an impasse, it's disaster".

In Geneva, North Korea told a United Nations rights panel sanctions would endanger the country's children.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

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