North Korea has hit the button on its fifth and potentially most powerful nuclear test, claiming to have successfully tested a nuclear warhead.
State media said the warhead could be mounted on ballistic rockets and would enable North Korea to produce
“a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power.”
“It’s hard for us to verify their claim. My deep fear is that they will launch a live nuclear weapon on one of their missiles, but that would be extremely dangerous as that could trigger a war,”
said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
South Korea, Japan and China condemned the test, saying it was a clear violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution.
President Park Geun-hye called Kim Jong Un’s regime
“The only thing that Kim Jong Un regime can gain from the nuclear tests is stronger sanctions from the international community and its isolation. Such provocation will eventually hasten its path to self-destruction,”
she said in a statement.
Seismic activity, with a magnitude of 5.3, was detected around 9 a.m. local time (8:30 p.m. ET) near Punggye-ri, Kilju County — the same location as four other tests, the most recent of which was in January.
The blast had the explosive power of 10 kilotons, almost twice as large as the previous test, said Kim Nam-wook, from South Korea’s Meteorological Administration.
By comparison, the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 15 kilotons.
“We are currently analyzing whether it was a successful test,”
a South Korean defense ministry official told CNN.
A US official told CNN that it looked like a nuclear test but confirmation would be dependent on seismic readings, location of the seismic event and whether it can be matched to an underground test site.
By: Katie Hunt and KJ Kwon, CNN