Tags: north korea | miniature | h-bomb | test | claim

North Korea Miniature H-Bomb Test Claim Setting Off Alarms

Image: North Korea Miniature H-Bomb Test Claim Setting Off Alarms

Officials at Korea Meteorological Administration point out seismic waves observed in South Korea on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji )

By    |   Wednesday, 06 Jan 2016 08:42 AM

Claiming a significant advance in its strike capability, North Korea said it successfully tested a miniaturized hydrogen nuclear bomb on Wednesday, setting off alarm bells in Japan and South Korea.

South Korean intelligence officials and several analysts questioned whether Wednesday's explosion was indeed a full-fledged test of a hydrogen device, reported Reuters.

The test, the fourth time the isolated state has exploded a nuclear device, was ordered by young leader Kim Jong Un and successfully conducted at 10:00 a.m. local time (0130 GMT), said North Korea's official KCNA news agency.

"Let the world look up to the strong, self-reliant nuclear-armed state," Kim wrote in what North Korean state TV displayed as a handwritten note.

But the reported nuclear test drew condemnation abroad, including from China and Russia, North Korea's two main allies.

China, which said it did not have advance knowledge of a test, expressed "resolute opposition" and said it would lodge a protest with Pyongyang.

While a fourth nuclear test had been long expected, the claim that it was a hydrogen device, much more powerful than an atomic bomb, came as a surprise, as did the timing. It ensures that North Korea will be a key topic during the U.S. presidential campaign.

North Korea has long coveted diplomatic recognition from Washington but sees its nuclear deterrent as crucial to ensuring the survival of its third-generation dictatorship.

"With Iran being off the table, the North Koreans have placed themselves at the top of the foreign policy agenda as far as nation-states who present a threat to the U.S.", said Michael Madden, an expert on the country's secretive leadership.

The device had a yield of about 6 kilotonnes, according to the office of a South Korean lawmaker on the parliamentary intelligence committee - roughly the same size as the North's last test, which was equivalent to 6-7 kilotonnes of TNT.

"Given the scale, it is hard to believe this is a real hydrogen bomb," said Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum.

"They could have tested some middle stage kind (of device) between an A-bomb and H-bomb, but unless they come up with any clear evidence, it is difficult to trust their claim."

"Because it is, in fact, hydrogen, they could claim it is a hydrogen bomb," he said. "But it is not a true fusion bomb capable of the massive multi-megaton yields these bombs produce".

The United States Geological Survey reported a 5.1 magnitude quake that South Korea said was 30 miles from the Punggye-ri site where the North has conducted nuclear tests in the past.


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Claiming a significant advance in its strike capability, North Korea said it successfully tested a miniaturized hydrogen nuclear bomb on Wednesday, setting off alarm bells in Japan and South Korea.
north korea, miniature, h-bomb, test, claim
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2016-42-06
Wednesday, 06 Jan 2016 08:42 AM
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