US ‘as­sumes’ North Kore­ans tested H-bomb

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing -

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — 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.

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.

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. ••• As­so­ci­ated Press of the ear­lier mis­sile that flew over Ja­pan. An­a­lysts have spec­u­lated the new test was of the same in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­sile launched in that ear­lier flight, the Hwa­song-12.

That mis­sile is linked to North Korea’s dec­la­ra­tion that it means to con­tain the U.S. Pa­cific is­land ter­ri­tory of Guam, which is the home of im­por­tant U.S. mil­i­tary as­sets and ap­pears well within the Hwa­song12’s range.

Fri­day’s mis­sile test was met with the usual out­rage. South Korean President Moon Jae-in or­dered his mil­i­tary to con­duct a live-fire bal­lis­tic mis­sile drill in re­sponse to the North Korean launch and in­structed gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to pur­sue “stern” mea­sures to dis­cour­age Py­ongyang from fur­ther provo­ca­tions.

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