North Korea gave the international community a jolt on Wednesday morning local time when, it claims, it successfully tested a miniature hydrogen bomb.
If true, this would indicate that one of the world’s most dangerous and isolated nations has made significant improvements in its ambitions to weaponize.
Originally thought to have been an earthquake, the South Korean meteorological administration claimed the incident was an “artificial earthquake” near Punggye-ri — the site that North Korea had used for its previous three nuclear tests.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) showed a 5.1 magnitude quake21km (13 miles) away from North Korea’s city of Sungjibaegam.
A hydrogen bomb is also known as a thermonuclear bomb, and is a step up from the atomic bomb, being able to produce a much more powerful blast.
In its three previous nuclear tests, it had used less powerful plutonium-based technology, similar to the bomb that the U.S. dropped over Nagasaki during World War II. If North Korea does have the ability to produce the hydrogen bomb, it could indicate that the country has made great strides in its research in nuclear weaponry.
Neighboring countries have called emergency meetings, following the tests. South Korean vice foreign minister Lim Sung-nam has reportedly condemned the test, saying: “North Korea’s provocation is in clear violation of Security Council resolutions and a serious challenge to international peace and security.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also issued a statement saying that North Korea’s test “clearly violates the United Nations Security Council resolution, and is a serious challenge to the nuclear non-proliferation efforts.”
The Yonhap News Agency quoted the White House, saying: “We condemn any violation of UNSC (U.N. Security Council) Resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments.”
The U.S. also said that it “will not accept (North Korea) as a nuclear state.”