North Korea’s state media on Sunday said it has ‘successfully’ tested a nuclear weapon that can be loaded onto a missile. Its confirmation came hours after an “artificial quake”, measuring a magnitude of 6.3 — nearly 10 times more powerful than its previous nuclear test — was recorded. Hours before the test, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed it had developed a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto its new intercontinental ballistic missile.
According to KCNA, the hydrogen bomb test was a “perfect success” and was a “meaningful” step in completing the country’s nuclear weapons programme, reported Reuters. It previously quoted its leader Kim Jong Un saying the missile is a “thermonuclear weapon with super explosive power made by our own efforts and technology”. It added that the components of the H-bomb were domestically made, reported AFP. It released pictures showing Kim in a black suit, examining a metal casing with two bulges.
North Korea’s missile test is speculated to have been conducted in response to US President Donald Trump’s telephonic conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during which they reportedly discussed the “escalating” nuclear crisis in the region. The White House added that the two leaders reiterated the importance of the close cooperation between their two countries and South Korea.
AFP Graphic showing North Korea’s nuclear test site and comparing the size of earthquakes caused by its nuclear blasts pic.twitter.com/786d6ph1X3
— AFP news agency (@AFP) September 3, 2017
Confirming the quake, the Japanese government called it “extremely unforgivable” and lodged a formal appeal with the latter’s embassy in Beijing. “The government confirms that North Korea conducted a nuclear test after examining information from the weather agency and other information,” Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Similarly, South Korea’s weather agency also confirmed the nuclear test and said it appeared several times stronger than its previous ones. The US has not reacted to the apparent test as yet.
Meanwhile, China condemned the apparent nuclear test. The country’s Nuclear Safety Administration has begun monitoring radiation levels along its border, following the apparent nuclear test.
This is allegedly the sixth text being conducted by North Korea. In July this year, it apparently conducted its first two intercontinental ballistic missiles tests. And last month, it fired what could potentially be a nuclear-capable midrange missile over Japan.
(With inputs from agencies)