North Korea is the only country known to have tested a nuclear weapon in the 21st Century. The country conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test so far over the weekend. It claimed to have successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb for the first time. The question now is how the will world respond.
South Korea launched live fire military drills and F-15 fighter jets in response to the nuclear provocations of its neighbor to the north.
At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley insisted the council increase sanctions and pressure on North Korea and the Kim Jong-un regime.
"His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war," she said in a sharp rebuke of Pyongyang after Sunday's test of a nuclear bomb eight times as large as the device that destroyed Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
"War is never something the United States wants. We don't want it now," Haley said. "But our country's patience is not unlimited."
President Donald Trump is also frustrated with the ineffectiveness of previous sanctions. He took a different approach and tweeted that the United States will hold other countries that trade with North Korea accountable, a strategy clearly aimed at China, the North's principal trading partner.
"We have pushed forward with this approach and push to try to get to remove the money that goes into North Korea that helps fund its illegal ballistic and nuclear weapons programs," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
In the meantime, the Pentagon chief also weighed in.
"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," Secretary of Defense James Mattis said.
In a sign that military action on the Korean peninsula is a serious threat, Tokyo is reportedly planning for a possible mass evacuation of the nearly 60,000 Japanese citizens currently living in or visiting South Korea.