In its fourth nuclear test since 2006, North Korea has claimed they detonated a hydrogen bomb at an underground test facility.
There’s been no independent confirmation, but South Korean officials reported an “artificial earthquake” that would indicate a massive explosion and North Korea is touting their test on state-run television.
The hydrogen bomb is significantly more powerful that the atomic bomb the Stalinist regime detonated in 2013, the BBC is reporting. The explosion registered a 5.1 on the Richter scale.
This doesn’t mean that North Korea has the capability to launch a nuclear missile. There’s no evidence they are able to make a bomb small enough to be transported on a missile.
Much of the technology that North Korea now has to develop nuclear weapons likely came from Bill Clinton, who made a deal with the Communist state to provide nuclear technology in return for a promise to stop developing weapons. Clearly, that didn’t work out too well.
Ironically, this is the same type of “Agreed Framework” that Barack Obama recently negotiated with Iran.
From the BBC:
Survey detected unusual seismic activity at 10:00 Pyongyang time (01:30 GMT) – in the north-east of the country,
A 5.1 magnitude tremor was detected about 50km (30 miles) from Kilju city, near the Punggye-ri nuclear site, which monitors said was likely not natural.
Hours later, in a surprise announcement, a newsreader on North Korean state TV said: “The republic’s first hydrogen bomb test has been successfully performed at 10:00 am on January 6, 2016.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had said last month that Pyongyang had developed a hydrogen bomb, although many experts were sceptical.
It could be days or weeks before independent tests are able to verify or dismiss the recent claim.
Hours before the seismic activity, South Korean media reported that Pyongyang had test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine in late December. It is unclear whether the test was successful or not.
North Korea said in May it had conducted a similar successful submarine launch.
About Robert Gehl
Robert Gehl is a college professor in Phoenix, Arizona. He has over 15 years journalism experience, including two Associated Press awards. He lives in Glendale with his wife and two young children.