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South Korea simulates attack on North Korea nuclear site after test

South Korea has fired missiles into the sea to simulate an attack on North Korea's main nuclear test site, a day after Pyongyang detonated its largest-ever nuclear test explosion.

South Korea's defence ministry also said North Korea appeared to be planning a future missile launch, possibly of an ICBM, to show off its claimed ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons.

The US had warned North Korea of a "massive military response".

The heated words from the United States and the military manoeuvres in South Korea are becoming familiar responses to North Korea's rapid, unchecked pursuit of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can strike America.

The most recent and perhaps most dramatic advance came on Sunday in an underground test of what leader Kim Jong Un's government claimed was a hydrogen bomb, the North's sixth nuclear test since 2006.

The United Nations Security Council is planning to hold its second emergency meeting about North Korea in a week to discuss responses to the test.

In Seoul, Chang Kyung-soo, an official with South Korea's defence ministry, told MPs it was seeing preparations in the North for an ICBM test.

Mr Chang also said the yield from the latest nuclear detonation appeared to be about 50 kilotons, which would mark a "significant increase" from North Korea's past nuclear tests.

In a series of tweets, US president Donald Trump threatened to halt all trade with countries doing business with North Korea - a warning to China - and faulted South Korea for what he called "talk of appeasement".

In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, told reporters in Beijing that China regarded as "unacceptable a situation in which on the one hand we work to resolve this issue peacefully but on the other hand our own interests are subject to sanctions and jeopardised. This is neither objective nor fair".

South Korea's military said its live-fire exercise was meant to "strongly warn" North Korea. The drill involved F-15 fighter jets and the country's land-based "Hyunmoo" ballistic missiles firing into the Sea of Japan.

The target was set considering the distance to North Korea's test site and the exercise was aimed at practising precision strikes and cutting off reinforcements, Seoul's joint chiefs of staff said.

AP

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