Clinton: North Korea test a ‘reminder of what’s at stake’

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Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonEx-pharma CEO Martin Shkreli: I didn’t endorse Trump Five things Clinton needs to do to win the California primary Geopolitics moves to center stage of Obama trade deal push MORE on Wednesday used North Korea’s alleged test of a hydrogen bomb as a way to bolster her national security bona fides.

“Threats like this are yet another reminder of what’s at stake in this election,” the Democratic presidential front-runner and former secretary of State said in a statement after the rogue Asian nation boasted about its new test.

“We cannot afford reckless, imprudent publicity stunts that risk war. We need a commander-in-chief with the experience and judgment to deal with a dangerous North Korea on Day One.”

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The nuclear test — which multiple analysts say may not have been as big as Pyongyang has advertised — has sent a jolt across the presidential field. The test is just the latest indicator that the 2016 presidential race will turn in large part on foreign affairs and national security following renewed fears about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Like many policymakers in and around Washington, Clinton on Wednesday called for an escalation of sanctions against North Korea. She also called for China — which has long protected its strategic allies in Pyongyang — to raise the stakes. 

“North Korea's goal is to blackmail the world into easing the pressure on its rogue regime,” Clinton said. “We can't give in to or in any way encourage this kind of bullying.”

“Instead, we should increase pressure and send Pyongyang an unmistakable message that its nuclear brinksmanship won't succeed.”

The Obama administration has yet to confirm that North Korea tested an advanced atomic weapon known as a thermonuclear, or hydrogen, bomb. Hydrogen bombs are vastly more devastating that more traditional nuclear weapons.

Clinton has been in the crosshairs of many conservatives, who say that her time at the State Department only empowered foreign adversaries such as North Korea and Iran.

Multiple Republican presidential candidates singled her out for scorn on Wednesday.

“The problem here is that it's been a weak response by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the last seven years,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)  said on “Fox and Friends.”

Former Hewlet-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina echoed the sentiment, calling North Korea’s nuclear ambitions “yet another Hillary Clinton foreign policy failure.”

Jonathan Easley contributed