A 5.1 magnitude tremor has been registered in the north-east of North Korea after the communist government “successfully” tested a hydrogen bomb, the country has claimed.
A state television news reader announced the tests, saying:
“The republic’s first hydrogen bomb test has been successfully performed at 10:00 am (12.30pm AEDT) on January 6, 2016, based on the strategic determination of the Workers’ Party.”
“The test means a higher stage of the DPRK’s development of nuclear force. By succeeding in the H-bomb test in the most perfect manner to be specially recorded in history the DPRK proudly joined the advanced ranks of nuclear weapons states possessed of even H-bomb and the Korean people came to demonstrate the spirit of the dignified nation equipped with the most powerful nuclear deterrent.”
South Korea has since condemned the tests, announcing that North Korea “will pay the price for its nuclear test”.
Researchers from the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said last month that they believed recent satellite images showed that North Korea was excavating a new tunnel at Punggye-ri where the test took place.
“While there are no indications that a nuclear test in imminent, the new tunnel adds to North Korea’s ability to conduct additional detonations over the coming years if it chooses to do so,” the researchers said.
Although North Korea has claimed it was a hydrogen bomb they had successfully tested, there are some who believe the seismic event wasn’t big enough to be an actual hydrogen bomb test.
Very preliminary but from size of the seismic event some experts say this could not have been an actual H-bomb test. https://t.co/EydNX0JpTJ
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) January 6, 2016
I doubt DPRK exploded a real H-Bomb. More likely a "boosted" weapon with tritium added to increase the yield of a fission bomb.
— Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione) January 6, 2016
Before this one, the country had conducted three nuclear tests in its history, with the first occurring in 2006 and then 2009 and 2013, earning it sanctions from both the US and UN.
The UN is now expected to meet tomorrow at 3AM Australian time to discuss the bomb tests.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un just last week used his New Year’s speech to warn the Western world that he was ready for war if provoked by “invasive” outsiders.
“We will continue to work patiently to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula and regional stability. But if invasive outsiders and provocateurs touch us even slightly, we will not be forgiving in the least and sternly answer with a merciless, holy war of justice,” said Kim.