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article imageUS calls N. Korea nuclear bomb test threat 'shocking'

By AFP     Sep 25, 2017 in World

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday it would be "shocking" irresponsibility for North Korea to carry out its threat to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.

The new comments, made while Mattis headed for India, followed a shrill war of words between the North Korean and US leaders over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Pyongyang's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Saturday that his country could test a nuclear bomb over the Pacific.

"This would be a shocking display of irresponsibility for global health, towards stability, towards non-proliferation," Mattis told reporters on his flight to India.

He declined to comment when asked if such a test would constitute an act of war.

Amid bitter wrangling between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, US bombers and jet fighters flew off the North Korean coast on Saturday in a show of force.

The North's nuclear programme will be one of the regional security topics raised by Mattis with Indian leaders during his three-day stay.

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