With activity around missile launch sites suggesting North Korea planned more missile tests, Jang Kyoung-soo, South Korea's acting deputy defense minister, warned parliament Monday that the North also could be planning to "fire an intercontinental ballistic missile." Seoul wasn't letting grass grow under its feet: South Korea said it was talking to the United States about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula in the wake of its sixth and largest nuclear test, Reuters reports. As the UN Security Council was set to meet later in the day to discuss new sanctions against the isolated regime, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that while the US wasn't looking "looking to the total annihilation" of North Korea, "we have many options to do so."
One day after the North tested a powerful hydrogen bomb, the South's air force and army conducted war games that simulated a live-fire attack on the North's nuclear facility to "strongly warn" Pyongyang. The South also said it planned to deploy the four remaining launchers of the new THAAD US missile defense system, vehemently opposed by China and Russia. The US warned of "massive" military response if Seoul or its allies were threatened. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov urged North Korea to "stop provocative actions that destabilize the situation," the AP reports. In unusually strong language, Ryabkov told reporters that Moscow sees "a dangerous trend in how quickly North Korea is making progress" in its nuclear program. He insisted diplomacy was the only solution, adding, "The one who is stronger and smarter should show restraint."