North Korea LIVE updates: South Korea predicts new missile launches as USA deploys defence | World | News

  • US to deploy missile defence system in South Korea
  • Seoul warns Kim Jong-un is planning more missile tests
  • US defence secretary says ‘total annihilation’ of North Korea an option
  • Boris Johnson warns Donald Trump that Kim could ‘vaporise’ South Korea

Bringing you the latest updates following North Korea’s nuclear weapons test. All times BST.

11.55am: North Korea could ‘wipe out’ US economy with EMP attack

North Korea could use a series of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks to destroy the US economy, the BBC’s foreign affairs editor John Simpson has said.

Speaking to BBC’s Radio 5 Live, he explained: “One of the things that the North Koreans have been boasting about an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which means firing a nuclear weapon up into the atmosphere and devastating the electrical grid of a country and all of its infrastructure.

“If something like that were to happen, I don’t think it is at all likely, but when North Korea is boasting about it, then, of course, the whole world would suffer if there was a major breakdown of the United States, China or somewhere else – that would be absolutely devastating to the world economy.

“There are serious dangers to the world economy, and I think this is why the Chinese are showing such signs of nervousness at the moment because they think that the world economy could be devastated if anything goes wrong at all.”

11.00am: Russia and China respond to Trump

Russia has warned that it would need react to the deployment of a US anti-missile system in South Korea.

“It inevitably will raise the question about our reaction, about our military balances,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a BRICS summit in China.

China has said that Donald Trump’s threat to cut off trade with countries trading with North Korea is “not fair”.

Mr Trump last night tweeted: “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “What we absolutely cannot accept is that on the one hand (we are) making arduous efforts to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, and on the other hand (our) interests are being sanctioned or harmed.

“This is both not objective and not fair.”

10.00am: South Korea and US plan North Korea response

South Korea has said that it is talking to the US about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula.

The move is a direct response to “signs” that North Korea might launch more missile tests in the wake of its sixth and largest nuclear test.

9.00am: US anti-missile system to launch in South Korea

South Korea has confirmed that it will temporally deploy a controversial US missile defence system designed to intercept North Korean warheads.

The final four of six Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) launchers will become operational in the village of Seongju after the environment ministry gave its approval.

Two batteries were installed in April causing outrage among villagers, who said that radiation from the launchers would damage their health and crops.

Seoul said in June that it would hold off installing the remaining components until it completed an assessment of their environmental impact, which officials have now deemed to be “minimal”.

Officials have conceded that that regular radiation assessments must be observed by local residents, with results being made available to the public.

China has also protested the anti-missile system, which is says “gravely harms the strategic security interests of China, Russia and other countries in the region”.

8.30am: South Korea ‘continues to see signs of more missile launches’

South Korea has “seen signs” that Kim Jong-un is planning to launch more ballistic missile tests, possibly including an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Defence ministry official Chang Kyung-soo said in Seoul’s parliament: “We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches.

“We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile.”

Earlier, South Korea launched a live-fire exercise in response to Kim’s alleged hydrogen bomb test.

Its military fired missiles into the sea to simulate an attack on the North’s nuclear site.


South Korea launched missile into the sea to simulate an attack on the North

Kim Jong-un inspecting nuclear bombREUTERS

North Korea released images of Kim Jong-un inspecting a nuclear warhead

6.00am: US warns ‘total annihilation’ of North Korea an option

US defence secretary James Mattis has warned that a North Korean attack would be met with a “massive military response”.

“We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack,” Mr Mattis said. 

“And our commitment among the allies is ironclad: any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.

Speaking after a meeting with Donald Trump and his national security team, Mr Mattis added: “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea.

“But as I said, we have many options to do so.”

Mr Trump yesterday wrote on Twitter that North Korea “is a rogue nation that has become a great threat and embarrassment to China”.

“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” he added.

5.30am: Boris warns Trump that North Korea strike could ‘vaporise’ South

Boris Johnson has warned Donald Trump that a military strike on North Korea could push Kim Jong-un to “vaporise” South Korea.

The Foreign Secretary said: “There is no question that this is another provocation, it is reckless, what they are doing is they seem to be moving closer towards a hydrogen bomb which, if fitted to a successful missile, would unquestionably present a new order of threat.

“We have to consider how to respond and it’s our view in the UK, overwhelmingly, that peaceful diplomatic means are the best.

“It’s certainly our view that none of the military options are good. It is of course right to say that all options are on the table, but we really don’t see an easy military solution.”

North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on to an intercontinental ballistic missile on Sunday.

The launch marked the rogue state’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test, resulting in a magnitude 6.3 earthquake.

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