North Korea claims it built and tested an advanced hydrogen bomb that can be mounted onto an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).
According to a report published on Sunday by North Korea’s state media outlet, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), it has “succeeded in making a more developed” H-bomb.
Kim Jong-Un, who was reportedly at the factory when the bomb was loaded onto a missile, said the country’s nuclear program is protected from sanctions because all of the components of its thermonuclear weapon are homemade, “enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons, as many as it wants.”
In a following report, the North said the bomb had been tested with “perfect success” and that it was a “meaningful” step in completing the country’s nuclear weapons program.
In January 2016, North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. Although experts were skeptical as the resulting explosion was too small.
On Sunday afternoon South Korean authorities say they detected an artificial 6.3 magnitude quake in North Korea.
The US Geological Survey measured the quake at a depth 10km.
South Korea concluded the quake was caused by Pyongyang conducting its sixth nuclear test.
Its fifth test was in September 2016.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul says it is considering a number of responses and has convened a national security council meeting.
Last week the North fired a missile over Japan, prompting Japanese officials to warn civilians in the northern part of the country to take necessary precautions.
In response, South Korean president Moon Jae-in ordered four South Korean F-15K fighter jets to dispatched to drop eight bombs at a simulated target as a military show of force.
Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia “utterly condemns North Korea’s flagrant defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions which ban nuclear weapons development and testing by Kim Jong-un’s regime”.
He has called for the UN Security Council and China to urgently consider placing stronger pressure on North Korea to “change course”.
“We have repeatedly said we are committed to the path of diplomatic and economic pressure to resolve this crisis,” Turnbull said.
“We will continue to work with our ally and partners to change North Korea’s behaviour and deter it from threatening the region and the world with illegal weapons.”
Meanwhile, US secretary of Defence Jim Mattis has warned of a “massive,” and “overwhelming” military response to North Korea after a small group meeting with US president Donald Trump.
Mattis stressed that the US has “many” military options for dealing with North Korea, but that the US does not seek the annihilation of any country. More on that here.
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