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The US Says It May Shoot First if North Korea Starts Testing a Nuclear Bomb

A North Korean nuclear test site is reportedly "primed and ready."
Photo by US Navy

Anonymous senior officials in US military intelligence told NBC News on Thursday afternoon that if recent North Korean insinuations about another nuclear test turn out to be true, it is prepared to preemptively strike with conventional weapons. This comes after 38 North, a highly respected blog that monitors the North Korean military, analyzed a new satellite photo taken on Wednesday of a North Korean nuclear testing site, and determined that the site is "primed and ready" for a potential detonation.


On Tuesday, North Korea warned that a preemptive strike could trigger a nuclear attack on the US mainland. That statement came after the US Navy moved a carrier and three missile-armed destroyers to a position near the Korean Peninsula. According to North Korean state media, a high ranking North Korean official said the hermit kingdom would "hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions."

President Trump on Thursday, tweeted a reiteration of a point he's been repeating since before his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, once again urging China to "properly deal with" North Korea. "If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will!" Wang Yi, China's Foreign Minister urged restraint on Thursday, telling a group of reporters in China, "Military force cannot resolve the issue."

Trump's focus has shifted to war in recent days, resulting in praise for his presidency at a time when public opinion is heavily against him.

Trump's missile strike against Syria last week appeared to give Trump a slight bump in his approval numbers, and was generally seen by the American public, including liberal critics, as a good move despite its questionable efficacy. On Thursday, the US military followed up the Syrian strikes by dropping a 21,600 pound bomb on an ISIS-affiliated target in Afghanistan—the largest conventional explosive the US military has ever used in battle.

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