North Korea fears demand attention despite domestic concerns

North Korea fears demand attention despite domestic concerns
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An increasingly aggressive North Korea demanded attention on Sunday despite ongoing concerns about the recovery efforts following a natural disaster in Texas and Louisiana. 

North Korea said Sunday it successfully tested a miniaturized hydrogen bomb capable of fitting on an intercontinental ballistic missile, calling it a "perfect success."

President Trump noted the "hostile and dangerous" action in an early-morning tweet. He also plans to meet Sunday at the White House with chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Mattis hints at US military options for North Korea Mattis: US to send 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan MORE and other military leaders to talk about next steps.

A few clues to the administration's response debuted on the Sunday talk shows, where officials and lawmakers debated the best way to handle Pyongyang — as well as the president's persistent use of Twitter to jump ahead of the official response.

Most, including Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform More former classmates of Mnuchin call on him to resign MORE, urged the U.S. to double down on economic sanctions.

"We've already started with sanctions against North Korea, but I am going to draft a sanctions package to send to the president for his strong consideration," Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday." "People need to cut off North Korea economically — this is unacceptable behavior."

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Democrat: Trump only loyal to the 'pro-Trump' party Sunday shows preview: Trump officials gear up for UN assembly MORE (D-Calif.) also discussed sanctions, saying North Korea's latest test could warrant imposing sanctions on countries doing business with Pyongyang.

"I think we're going to have to start imposing secondary sanctions, that is other countries doing business with North Korea," Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN's "State of the Union." 

"We ought to be aiming for a cessation of these programs in the first instance, and then hope that will lead to a negotiation where we can roll back these programs."

He added the recent developments underscore the "heightened importance of getting China" to work with the U.S. more aggressively to cut off trade to North Korea. Trump has pushed China for a stronger stance on North Korea as well.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention MORE (R-Texas) on Sunday called the new test by North Korea "a serious escalation in their ability to commit mass acts of murder.”

North Korea is "the most dangerous place on the face of the planet," Cruz said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

The Texas Republican added he thinks Trump is right that leaders like Kim Jong Un and "other bullies only understand and respect strength."

He added, “The president speaks in ways I wouldn’t speak, but that is his prerogative."

Cruz was not the only lawmaker warning Trump should not be feuding with North Korea over Twitter and should let his team guide the official response.

It's important to have a leader who is "measured, sober and consistent," Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCorker pressed as reelection challenges mount -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Senate votes down Paul's bid to revoke war authorizations MORE (R-Ariz.) said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Our allies want to hear that," he said. "I think our adversaries need to hear that."

But he added that Trump has a good team around him to help him make decisions on the North Korean threat.

"I do have good confidence in our national security team, and the president does not have experience in this kind of situation, but few presidents do when they come into office," he said. "I'm confident that the people around the president are giving him good advice and I believe he'll follow it. I sure hope he does."

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) also warned the president against getting into a Twitter spat with North Korea's leader, saying he thinks it has "escalated the tension in the situation."

Trump needs to let his diplomats and military generals handle the situation, Castro said on ABC's "This Week."

The Texas Democrat did not have confidence that North Korea would not act first in a possible strike against the U.S. Pyongyang has warned that it is planning a strike in the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.

“I believe that it’s probably about negotiations and power, but because North Korea is such an isolated nation in the world, it’s impossible to answer that question with complete certainty,” Castro said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked if he thinks North Korea’s leader would conduct a first strike.

He called for the U.S. to "use the significant sanctions" passed last month by the United Nations to choke North Korea's economy.

“At this point, anybody who is advocating for military action against North Korea is advocating for military action against a nuclear power who has also made threats against the United States,” Castro said.

In addition to its latest test, North Korea in recent weeks has also launched several missiles.

Trump last month intensified his rhetoric against North Korea, warning of "fire and fury" if the country continues to threaten the U.S. 

"North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success," he tweeted Sunday, before targeting South Korea in a subsequent post.

"South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!"

South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, on Sunday called for the "strongest possible" response to the North Korean test. 

The news of North Korea's latest test comes amid ongoing recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a significant disaster that has been a domestic test for Trump's presidency. The storm — which brought devastating flooding to the region and displaced thousands of people — remained a focus Sunday.