North Korea announced on Wednesday it had successfully carried out its first hydrogen bomb test, a development that, if confirmed, would mark a stunning step forward in its nuclear development.
“The republic’s first hydrogen bomb test has been successfully performed at 10:00am on January 6, 2016, based on the strategic determination of the Workers’ Party,” a state television news reader announced.
Meanwhile, the US vowed to respond appropriately to North Korea’s provocations after the reclusive nation claimed that it had carried out a hydrogen bomb test.
Here are the latest updates: (Indian Standard Time)
1:21 pm: One of the aircraft seen departing, the RC-135S, collects optical and electronic data from ballistic targets. It is used for arms treaty compliance verification and U.S. strategic and missile defense development.
1:20 pm: It wasn’t clear what they were doing, but they could be involved in trying to determine what kind of nuclear device North Korea detonated.
12:38 pm: At least three planes departed Thursday from Kadena Air Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
12:35 pm: U.S. intelligence-gathering aircraft have been taking off from an American air base in southern Japan, a day after North Korea said it tested a hydrogen bomb.
12:12 pm: Trucks are rumbling across the Chinese-North Korean border in a sign that trade is continuing despite Beijing’s anger over the North’s avowed hydrogen bomb test.
11:35 am: The underground explosion angered China, which was not given prior notice although it is North Korea’s main ally, pointing to a strain in ties between the neighbours.
11:30 am: Samantha Power’s statement also says North Korea has “isolated itself and impoverished its people through its reckless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.”
11:20 am: Four rounds of U.N. sanctions have aimed at reining in the North’s nuclear and missile development programs, but Pyongyang has ignored them and moved ahead to modernize its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
11:15 am: US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power issued a statement shortly after the council met in an emergency session on Pyongyang’s announcement. Power says the international community must respond to the news with “steadily increasing pressure” and rigorous enforcement of existing sanctions.
11:12 am: The head of the U.N. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization says its monitors are looking for a smoking gun that will confirm that North Korea carried out a nuclear test — and whether it was a hydrogen bomb as Pyongyang claims.
11:10 am: The partial entry ban will affect clients, potential buyers and service providers to 120 South Korean businesses in the North Korean border city. It was not clear how many people would be affected by the decision.
11:07 am: The Unification Ministry says visitors who are not directly related to business operations in Kaesong industrial park will be denied entry.
11:05 am: South Korea is limiting entry to an industrial park in North Korea jointly run by two Koreas in its first concrete action since Pyongyang said it had carried out a successful hydrogen bomb test.
11:02 am: Japan’s U.N. ambassador says the Security Council will hurt its credibility if it fails to swiftly adopt a new resolution imposing “significant” new measures against North Korea in response to its announced nuclear test.
11:00 am: The White House says the U.S. government’s early analysis of underground activity in North Korea “is not consistent” with that country’s claim of having conducted a successful hydrogen bomb test.
10:51 am: Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador says no member of the U.N. security Council spoke out against imposing new sanctions against North Korea during the council’s closed-door emergency meeting on Pyongyang’s announced nuclear test.
10:50 am: Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that Russia has yet to see a draft of a resolution that the U.N. Security Council says it will begin work on immediately.
10:46 am: Russia’s U.N. ambassador says it would be going “too far” to say that Russia supports more sanctions against North Korea in response to the country’s announcement of a new nuclear test.
10:45 am: US President Barack Obama talked over phone with South Korean President Park about North Korea’s nuclear test – WHITE HOUSE
10:35 am: “We consistently pursue the Korean peninsula’s denuclearisation,” Han Min-koo, the defence minister, told lawmakers, rejecting growing calls for a South Korean nuclear deterrent against the North.
10:30 am: S.Korea says against acquiring nuclear weapons despite North’s test
10:00 am: “We get paid nothing, we get paid peanuts” for deploying the troops to South Korea,” said Trump.
9:30 am: South Korea should pay the United States “very substantially” for maintaining 28,000 troops there to help defend it from the North, Republican presidential contender Donald Trump told CNN on Wednesday, a day after Pyongyang detonated a nuclear device.
8:45 am: Asia analysts said China would likely support more U.N. sanctions, even though it is North Korea’s neighbor and main ally, but within limits, for fear of destabilizing what has long been a physical buffer between it and U.S.-backed South Korea.
8:30 am: North Korea also said it was capable of miniaturising the H-bomb, in theory allowing it to be placed on a missile and potentially posing a new threat to the U.S. West Coast, South Korea and Japan.
8:00 am: North Korea has been under Security Council sanctions since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
7: 45 am: U.S. lawmakers discussing broader North Korea sanctions, House of Representatives may vote as soon as next week – Congressional sources
7:00 am: Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe told Obama that firm global response needed to prevent further provocative actions by North Korea – Kyodo
LIVE updates from today
6.45 pm: The EU foreign policy chief says that North Korea’s nuclear test, if confirmed, would represent “a grave violation of the DPRK’s international obligations not to produce or test nuclear weapons.”
6.30 pm: Russia’s Foreign Ministry says it hasn’t been confirmed that North Korea has carried out an actual nuclear test. In a statement, the ministry calls on “all interested sides to preserve maximum restraint and to not take actions that could rouse the uncontrolled growth of tensions in Northeast Asia.”
6.00 pm: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the nuclear weapons test announced by North Korea is a “clear breach” of U.N. Security Council resolutions and “undermines regional and international security.”
2:30 pm: South Korean spy agency tells lawmaker that North Korea may have tested A-bomb, not H-bomb
2:20 pm: China plans to summon North Korea’s ambassador in Beijing to the Foreign Ministry to lodge a strong protest, spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing Wednesday. China made a similar protest after the North’s last nuclear test in 2013.
2:10 pm: Japan’s nuclear regulator said it will brief the media at 6 p.m. (0900 GMT) on Wednesday on estimates of any radiation impact from North Korea’s nuclear test.
2:09 pm: China said on Wednesday it will lodge a protest with North Korea after it said it had successfully conducted a test of a miniaturised hydrogen nuclear device.
2:02 pm: Several UN resolutions ban the reclusive North from any nuclear activity or ballistic missile technology.
2:01 pm: Pyongyang has carried out three previous nuclear tests – in 2006, 2009 and 2013 — which led to a series of sanctions from the United Nations.
1:50 pm: “While we cannot confirm at this time that a test was carried out, we condemn any violation of UNSC Resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments,” US mission spokeswoman Hagar Chemali said.
1:45 pm: Park also ordered the military to bolster its combined defense posture with the U.S. military, saying South Korea will sternly deal with any additional provocation by North Korea.
1:40 pm: Park says: “It’s not only grave provocation of our national security, but also an act that threatens our lives and future. It’s also a direct challenge to world peace and stability.”
1:30 pm: Park said at the start of the meeting that the government “must get North Korea to face corresponding measures based on closed cooperation with the international community.”
1:27 pm: Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing that China would work with the international community on the decentralization of the Korean peninsula.
1:15 pm: Ri Sol Yong, a 22-year-old university student, said the test “gives us more national pride.” She said, “Thanks to the fact that our country is a nuclear weapons state, I can study at the university without any worries. If we didn’t have powerful nuclear weapons, we would already have been turned into the slaves of the U.S.”
1:10 pm: British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Wednesday that both Britain and China opposed North Korea’s test of a miniaturised hydrogen nuclear device and support the resumption of so-called six-party disarmament talks.
1:00 pm: France on Wednesday condemned North Korea’s reported test of a hydrogen bomb, calling for a “strong reaction from the international community”, President Francois Hollande’s office said in a statement.
12:56 pm: There was no immediate response from China, North Korea’s key diplomatic protector, but in a report from Pyongyang, the official Xinhua news service said that the “test apparently runs counter to relevant UN resolutions” and “is set to cause repercussions”.
12:56 pm: Several governments promised a firm response as tensions soared again in northeast Asia, many calling for further action by the United Nations against the hermit nation, which is already subject to heavy international sanctions.
12:50 pm: North Korea’s neighbours lined up today to condemn Pyongyang’s claimed hydrogen bomb test, saying it
posed a grave threat to regional security.
12:40 pm: Kim Sok Chol, a 32-year-old man who watched the TV announcement on a big screen at the train station square, told The Associated Press that he does not know much about what a hydrogen bomb is, but added that “since we have it, the U.S. will not attack us. I think the first successful H-bomb test is a great national event.”
12:30 pm: In Pyongyang, North Koreans reacted enthusiastically to the news that the country has carried out its fourth nuclear test since 2006.
12:20 pm: South Korean foreign exchange authorities were suspected by dealers to be engaging in market-smoothing activities to support the won against the dollar as risk-off sentiment was further stoked by the North’s latest provocation.
12:10 pm: While vowing to stick by a no-first use policy, Wednesday’s statement said Pyongyang would continue to pursue an advanced nuclear strike capability. “As long as the vicious anti-North policy of the US persists, we will never stop development of our nuclear programme,” it said.
12:05 pm: The announcement by N Korea will leave the international community scrambling to verify the accuracy of the North’s claims.
12:02 pm: The statement was issued by authorities from the Financial Services Commission (FSC), finance ministry and Bank of Korea after a meeting was convened following North Korea’s announcement that it had conducted a nuclear test.
12:02 pm: The United States Geological Survey reported a 5.1 magnitude quake that South Korea said was 49 km (30 miles) from the Punggye-ri site where the North has conducted nuclear tests in the past.
12:02 pm: “The effect on financial markets from this nuclear test is unlikely to be large,” a joint statement said.
12:00 pm: South Korea’s financial authorities held a flurry of emergency meetings on Wednesday after North Korea said it successfully conducted a test of a hydrogen nuclear device, which sent the South’s stocks and won lower.
11:59 am: “We will find out after closely analyzing it but we understand a small amount of hydrogen may have been added to the fourth nuclear test,” ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters, according to the MoneyToday online news service.
11:56 am: “The latest test, completely based on our technology and our manpower, confirmed that our newly-developed technological resources are accurate and scientifically demonstrated the impact of our miniaturised H-bomb,” the TV announcer said.
11:55 am: A hydrogen, or thermonuclear device, uses fusion in a chain reaction that results in a far more powerful explosion.
11:55 am: S.Korea says small amount of hydrogen may have been injected in North’s device.
11:51 am: Only last month, during remarks made during an inspection tour, Kim had suggested Pyongyang had already developed a hydrogen bomb — although the claim was greeted with scepticism by international experts.
11:50 am: Zerbo urged North Korea to refrain from further nuclear testing and join the 183 states who have signed the treaty.
11:50 am: Lassina Zerbo says in a statement that the universally accepted norm against nuclear testing has been respected by 183 countries since 1996.
11:50 am: The head of the U.N. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors worldwide for nuclear testing, says if confirmed, a nuclear test by North Korea would be a breach of the treaty and a grave threat to international peace and security.
11:49 pm: The surprise test was personally ordered by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and came just two days before his birthday.
11:48 am: “With the perfect success of our historic H-bomb, we have joined the rank of advanced nuclear states,” the N Korea announcer said, adding that the test was of a “miniaturised” device.
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11:46 am: North Korea is known to have conducted three nuclear tests and is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes.
11:44 pm: “The United States and Japan have requested emergency Security Council consultations for tomorrow morning regarding North Korea’s alleged nuclear test,” Hagar Chemali, spokeswoman for the U.S. mission, said in a statement.
11:40 am: Abe told reporters: “We absolutely cannot allow this, and condemn it strongly.”
11:38 am: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the North Korean announcement of a hydrogen bomb test is a threat to his nation’s safety.
11:0o am: He calls on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments and said the U.S. consistently made clear that it will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state and will continue to defend U.S. allies in the region.
10:55 am: Ned Price calls on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments and said the U.S. consistently made clear that it will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state and will continue to defend U.S. allies in the region.
10:40 am: The White House says it can’t confirm a North Korean nuclear test, but said it would condemn such a test as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
10:30 am: Crowds dressed in thick winter coats have gathered outside a large video screen near a Pyongyang train station to cheer and take video and photos on their mobile phones of the state TV anchor announcing the country had carried out a nuclear test.
Some people raised their hands and applauded. Many smiled and cheered.
9:15 am: South Korea’s Defense Ministry also says it is bolstering security and monitoring on North Korea.
9:10 am: Presidential security official Cho Tae-yong says: “We strongly condemn” the North’s fourth bomb test. He says North Korea must abide by U.N. resolutions that require the country to scrap its nuclear and ballistic missile programs completely and irreversibly.
9:00 am: South Korea says it will consult with allies and regional powers to get North Korea to face the consequences of the nuclear test it said it had carried out, such as additional U.N. sanctions.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry also says it is bolstering security and monitoring on North Korea.