How North Korea Could Pull Off a Pacific Nuclear Test

Sep 23, 2017 | 00:00 GMT

Would North Korean leader Kim Jong Un really provoke a further international outcry with an atmospheric nuclear test blast?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's response to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly carried a threat that the country's foreign minister interpreted as a possible atmospheric test of a thermonuclear bomb.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

With the steady escalation of both multilateral and U.S. sanctions against it, North Korea is threatening once again to ratchet up its response. The week began with U.S. President Donald Trump telling the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19 that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was on a “suicide mission” and the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies. Trump followed up his remarks by signing an executive order on Sept. 21 that will allow the U.S. Treasury Department to go after entities trading with North Korea. On Sept. 22, Kim responded by promising countermeasures. Kim’s vague threat was sharpened by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, who speculated to reporters in New York that Kim might be considering carrying out “the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific.” These threats don’t necessarily suggest that North Korea will detonate...

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