China Fears "Vicious Circle" On Korean Peninsula, US Sees "Tipping Point" If Kim Tests H-Bomb Over Pacific

In a considerably more aggressive, and less diplomatic, 'story' in China's government mouthpiece Xinhua, writers warn:

"It is not hard to tell that the situation has become a vicious circle where more missile tests trigger more sanctions, while more sanctions trigger more tests..." urging the double-freeze solution once again, saying that "the parties concerned need to respect each other's security concerns."

 

At this moment, the United States and the DPRK, two key actors in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, should stay calm and exercise restraint, and avoid any provocative action or rhetoric that might further escalate tensions.

 

Political courage, wisdom and a responsible attitude are required to address the current crisis, instead of provocations or threats.

However, following last night's less than veiled threat from North Korea that the next escalation will be to test a hydrogen-bomb over the Pacific:

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho suggested leader Kim Jong Un was considering testing “an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb” over the Pacific in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat at the United Nations to “totally destroy” the country.

Officials across the globe have frantically responded.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has chimed in...

"In the absence of a meaningful commitment by North Korea to return to serious talks aimed at denuclearisation, enhanced pressure remains essential to compel North Korea to change its course."

As Reuters reports that such an atmospheric h-bomb test would be the first globally since China detonated a device in 1980. Tests of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles are rarer still. The United States’ only test of an operational ballistic missile with a live warhead was fired from submarine far out in the Pacific Ocean in 1962. China was widely condemned for a similar test with a missile that exploded over its Lop Nur test site in the country’s west in 1966. North Korea’s six nuclear tests to date have all been underground, the most recent earlier this month by far its largest.

Experts are gravely concerned...

“We have to assume they *could* do it, but it is exceedingly provocative,” said Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at  Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

“To put a live nuclear warhead on a missile that’s only been tested a handful of times, overflying potentially populated centers. If it...doesn’t go exactly as planned....it could be a world changing event.

 

If Kim’s threat materializes, it will be a “tipping point” for China, and may prompt many other countries to demand an “end to the regime,” said David Albright, founder of the non-profit Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.

 

“No one has tested above ground for decades and the radioactive fallout could be terrifying to many,” Albright said.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called Pyongyang’s remarks and behavior “completely unacceptable”.

Narang said a test high enough over the ocean would limit the radioactive fallout but risks included damage from an electro-magnetic pulse, something Pyongyang has hinted it might employ on an attack on the United States or its allies.

 

“If it doesn’t go exactly as planned and the detonation occurs at a lower altitude we could see some EMP-like effects for anything in the area. A lot of dead fish too.”

Additionally, Reuters cites a US official warning that it would be a "game-changer" if North Korea explodes an H-Bomb over the Pacific, but Washington is not giving threat "too much credence."