North Korea Claims It Successfully Tested A Hydrogen Bomb

The international community is scrambling to figure out the accuracy of North Korea's claim that it tested an H-bomb which, if confirmed, would be the first for the reclusive Asian nation.

North Korea has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, according to the North Korean state news agency. The announcement came after a “seismic event” occurred on Wednesday, registering on international radars and causing speculation as to the source of the event. The test was “conducted with indigenous wisdom, technology and efforts,” according to a statement released by North Korea. “It was confirmed that the H-bomb test conducted in a safe and perfect manner had no adverse impact on the ecological environment,” according to the statement. Images of people celebrating in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, were released by state media following the test.

The United States and other countries have expressed skepticism over the event but are taking it seriously nonetheless. "We have consistently made clear that we will not accept [North Korea] as a nuclear state" the State Department said in a statement. U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby said that while the United States could not immediately confirm the accuracy of North Korea’s claims, “we condemn any violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments.” United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki Moon condemned the announcement on Wednesday, calling it "profoundly destabilizing for regional security."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also released a statement. “I condemn the continued development by North Korea of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes and its inflammatory and threatening rhetoric,” Stoltenberg said. “North Korea should abandon nuclear weapons and existing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and engage in credible and authentic talks on denuclearisation.”

South Korea–which has a longstanding relationship with the United States–convened an emergency national security meeting following the event, according to AP. Condemning the event, the nation cited UN resolutions disallowing such activity. South Korean senior security, Cho Tae-yong said, "Our government strongly condemns North Korea ignoring repeated warnings from us and the international community and pushing ahead with the fourth nuclear test, which clearly violated the UN resolutions."

If North Korea's claim is true, this would be the fourth time the reclusive country has carried out a nuclear bomb test. However there is yet to be substantive evidence that the explosion was in fact nuclear. Japanese monitors have not identified any radiation at this time, and nuclear scientist Imad Khadduri told Al Jazeera, "A real hydrogen bomb would be 50 to 100 times the power of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The yield of this bomb is nowhere near that." 

-Bronte Price

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