North Korea has successfully tested a nuclear bomb that could be loaded on to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the mainland U.S.
In the early hours of Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey initially detected a 5.6 magnitude tremor near North Korea’s nuclear site, but later raised it to 6.3 with a depth of 10 kilometers in Northeastern North Korea, a region where North Korea usually tests its nuclear weapons.
North Korean television later said Pyongyang had tested a missile-ready hydrogen bomb five times bigger than that of Nagasaki – the nuclear bomb dropped on Japan during World War II. The “artificial quake” was 9.8 times more powerful than the tremor from the North’s fifth test, the state weather agency added.
Full statement from N. Korea on today’s nuclear test. pic.twitter.com/mVciIpBgib
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) September 3, 2017
Analysts on SKY News initially claimed the blast to have been around 10 kilotons. But an independent seismic monitor, the Norwegian Seismic Array, found that the test actually yielded a blast of about 120 kilotons. The “Fat Man” gravity bomb dropped on Nagasaki was around 20–22 kilotons.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said North Korea’s sixth nuclear test should be met with the “strongest possible” response, including new United Nations Security Council sanctions to “completely isolate” the country.
China, North Korea’s only major ally, too condemned the test. “North Korea has ignored the international community’s widespread opposition, again carrying out a nuclear test. China’s government expresses resolute opposition and strong condemnation toward this,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
President Trump has responded to the test on Twitter, saying: “North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States. North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”
The UK’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson described the test as “reckless” and said the nation’s development of a hydrogen bomb “unquestionably present a new order of threat“.