The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced on Wednesday that it has successfully carried out its first hydrogen bomb explosion. According to a statement issued after the test, DPRK’s top leader Kim Jong Un had ordered the test on December 15, 2015, and signed the final written order on Sunday.
The DPRK claimed that the test was conducted “in a safe and perfect manner” and that no adverse impact was caused to the environment.
However, speaking to CCTV, military expert Du Wenlong said that given the reported magnitude of the earthquake (4.9 as measured by the China Earthquake Network Center), it appears that the explosion was the equivalent of several tons of TNT, thereby falling far short of a normal hydrogen bomb blast in terms of the power released.
He explained that the only way this could have been a hydrogen bomb explosion was if the DPRK has acquired the capacity of devising smaller hydrogen bombs – something that isn’t easy to do.
The DPRK’s statement said the test has “proved that the technological specifications of the newly developed H-bomb were accurate and scientifically verified the power of a smaller hydrogen bomb.”
Pyongyang’s nuclear test has triggered furious international reaction, with the U.N. Security Council set to convene at 16:00 GMT for an emergency meeting.
China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said that it is firmly opposed to the test, which was conducted by the DPRK “irrespective of the international community’s opposition.”
“We strongly urge the DPRK side to remain committed to its denuclearization commitment, and stop taking actions that would make the situation worse,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, adding that it was the consensus of all sides to maintain peace in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.
“China will carry forward the goal of denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula, and urges to resolve the issue by abiding to the Six Party Talks,” Hua said.
The U.S. government, meanwhile, vowed to respond appropriately to any “provocations,” adding that so far it cannot confirm whether the DPRK had conducted a hydrogen bomb test.
“While we cannot confirm these claims at this time, we condemn any violation of UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments,” White House National Security Council’s spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
According to CNN, an unnamed senior U.S. administration official said that it could take days to obtain the scientific data to determine whether this was a successful test.
Responding to the tests, U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy also remarked that “we stand with Japan and our partners and allies in solidarity in the face of North Korean provocations and we will work closely together with you in the coming days.”
Earlier, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had described the test as a security threat to his country.
Meanwhile, the South Korean President Park Geun-hye also reacted strongly, convening an emergency security meeting vowing to make the DPRK pay a price for the test in cooperation with the international community.
So far, the South Korean defense ministry has also said that it cannot immediately confirm the test’s success. However, if confirmed, this would be the fourth nuclear test that the DPRK has conducted in the past decade.
HISTORY OF DPRK NUCLEAR TESTS:
Oct. 9, 2006 — The official KCNA news agency reports that the country has conducted a successful nuclear test in North Hamgyong-do in the northeast of the country. The U.N. Security Council on Oct. 14 passes Resolution 1718 condemning the test.
May 25, 2009 — The DPRK conducts its second nuclear test. KCNA says that DPRK scientists have been able to increase the explosive power and control level of the bomb compared with the first test.
The test prompts U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, which voices “the strongest condemnation” against DPRK authorities and demands the country stop further nuclear weapons-related activities.
Feb. 12, 2013 — The DPRK carries out a third nuclear test, which the KCNA describes as “high level, safe and perfect.”
South Korea estimates the bomb has a power equal to 6,000-7,000 tons of TNT. The U.N. Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 2094 on March 7, demanding the DPRK give up its nuclear weapons project and return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Story by CCTV News