[Breaking] North Korea claims successful test of H-bomb warhead for ICBM

Ray Weaver
September 3, 2017

North Korea twice tested underground nuclear devices past year, once in January and again in September, the latter just hours after former President Barack Obama wrapped up his final trip to Asia as head of state.

Pyongyang's latest provocation came in the face of global condemnation and sanctions, applied even by its traditional ally China.

North Korea has been working to build an arsenal of viable nuclear ICBMs that can reach the USA mainland.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year, the last almost a year ago, on the 9 September anniversary of the nation's founding.

Sunday's explosion came just hours after the North claimed to have developed a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto the country's new intercontinental ballistic missile. The last nuclear test Pyongyang conducted, which was almost a year ago, triggered a 5.3-magnitude seismological event.

"We've reconfirmed our ability to control our missile and nuclear capabilities at any given time, and that we've reached a very high level of standards of such technology", the North Korean announcer read on state broadcaster, KCNA.

The previous nuclear blast in North Korea is estimated by experts to have been about 10 kilotons. It could be much larger still if the reading of 6.3 magnitude by the United States Geological Survey is correct.

[Breaking] North Korea claims successful test of H-bomb warhead for ICBM

According to Seoul's Meteorological Administration, the seismic activity detected in Punggyeri had the characteristics of an induced quake.

More than 60 years after the end of the Korean War, the impoverished North uses the perceived threat of USA invasion to justify its nuclear weapons programme.

While his advisers stress diplomacy, President Trump has repeatedly raised the option of military measures to shut down the North's nuclear and missile programmes.

It flew a Hwasong-12 over northern Japan last week, the first such overflight by a missile capable of carrying nukes, in a launch Mr Kim described as a "meaningful prelude" to containing Guam, the home of major United States military facilities, and more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific. After a North Korean missile flew over Japan's airspace to land in the Pacific on August 29, Moon ordered the military to conduct a show-of-force exercise.

North Korea sees its nuclear weapons program as crucial to deterring any US-led attempts at invasion, making it unlikely that they will negotiate it away, analysts say. However, but North Korea's increasingly serious provocations have prompted the current liberal administration's Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo to discuss the issue with his United States counterpart.

China's foreign ministry said in a statement: "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has once again conducted a nuclear test in spite of widespread opposition from the worldwide community". North Korea had made an absurd tactical mistake by committing a series of provocations such as launching ICBM [long-range] missiles and conducting a nuclear test, which was heightened tensions on the [Korean] peninsula and is threatening world peace. "We have to strongly protest it", Abe said.

South Korea held a National Security Council meeting chaired by President Moon Jae-in.

Other reports by Insurance News

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