US nuke com­man­der ‘as­sumes’ North Kore­ans tested H-bomb

Manteca Bulletin - - Nation -

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AP) — The top com­man­der of U.S. nu­clear forces said Thurs­day he as­sumes the Sept. 3 nu­clear test by North Korea was a hy­dro­gen bomb, sug­gest­ing a height­ened U.S. con­cern that the North has ad­vanced to a new level of nu­clear fire­power, even as it launched yet an­other bal­lis­tic mis­sile over Ja­pan into the Pa­cific Ocean.

Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, com­man­der of Strate­gic Com­mand, told re­porters that while he was not in a position to con­firm it, he as­sumes from the size of the un­der­ground ex­plo­sion and other fac­tors that it was a hy­dro­gen bomb — which is a leap be­yond the fis­sion, or atomic, bombs North Korea has pre­vi­ously tested.

Just mo­ments af­ter Hyten spoke at his head­quar­ters near Omaha, word spread that North Korea had launched a mid-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile over Ja­pan. De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis, who was with Hyten at Strate­gic Com­mand head­quar­ters at the time of the launch, said af­ter­ward that it was a reckless act.

“It was fired over Ja­pan and put mil­lions of Ja­panese in the duck-and-cover,” he told a small group of re­porters. “Landed out in the Pa­cific.”

Asked about a pos­si­ble Amer­i­can mil­i­tary re­sponse, Mat­tis said, “I don’t want to talk on that yet.”

Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son re­leased a state­ment say­ing, “These con­tin­ued provo­ca­tions only deepen North Korea’s diplo­matic and eco­nomic iso­la­tion.”

Tiller­son was re­turn­ing from Lon­don, where he met Thurs­day with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Bri­tain and France to dis­cuss ways to in­crease pres­sure on Kim Jong Un’s au­thor­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ment.

“United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions, in­clud­ing the most re­cent unan­i­mous sanc­tions res­o­lu­tion, rep­re­sent the floor, not the ceil­ing, of the ac­tions we should take,” Tiller­son said. “We call on all na­tions to take new mea­sures against the Kim regime.”

Tiller­son called on China and Rus­sia to “in­di­cate their in­tol­er­ance for these reckless mis­sile launches by tak­ing di­rect ac­tions of their own.”

Shortly af­ter the Sept. 3 test, North Korea claimed they ex­ploded a hy­dro­gen bomb, and while U.S. of­fi­cials have not con­tra­dicted them, they have not con­firmed it, ei­ther. Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials had in­di­cated they saw noth­ing to con­tra­dict the North’s claim. Hyten went fur­ther, say­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the test made him think it was an H-bomb.

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