North Korea may have carried out sixth nuclear test, experts fear this after a 6.3 magnitude shook the country. Here’s all that we know about the development, which is likely to further tense the situation in the Korean peninsula:
- Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said tremors caused by a suspected nuclear test in North Korea were at least ten times as powerful as the last time Pyongyang exploded an atomic bomb a year ago.
- “It was a least ten times as powerful,” a JMA official said at a briefing aired by public broadcaster NHK.
The previous nuclear blast in North Korea is estimated by experts to have been around 10 kilotons.
- Japan confirmed that North Korea conducted a nuclear test today, and lodged a formal protest with Pyongyang after a major explosion at the isolated nation’s main test site.
- The alleged sixth nuclear test resulted in a shallow magnitude 6.3 earthquake. The test took place hours after Pyongyang said it had developed an advanced hydrogen bomb that possesses “great destructive power”.
- The earthquake, which Japan said was a nuclear test, struck 75 km (45 miles) north northwest of Kimchaek, where previous tests have been conducted.
- The nuclear test comes as a direct challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump, who hours earlier had talked by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the “escalating” nuclear crisis in the region.
- A U.S. official who studies North Korea’s military and politics told Reuters that seismic data on the tremors was being analysed, although the location suggested another nuclear test.He further, however, said it was too early to determine if a test, if there was one, supported the North’s claim that has succeeded in developing a thermonuclear weapon, “much less one that could be mounted on an ICBM and re-enter Earth’s atmosphere without burning up”.
- The hydrogen bomb report by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency came amid heightened regional tension following Pyongyang’s two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in July that potentially could fly about 10,000 km (6,200 miles), putting many parts of the mainland United States within range.
- Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been pursuing a nuclear device small and light enough to fit on a long-range ballistic missile, without affecting its range and making it capable of surviving re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Witnesses in the Chinese city of Yanji, on the border with North Korea, said they felt a tremor that lasted roughly 10 seconds, followed by an aftershock. China said it had detected a second, 4.6 magnitude quake with near identical coordinates eight minutes later.
- South Korea’s military said the first earthquake “appeared to be manmade”. A meeting of Seoul’s National Security Council has been convened, national news agency Yonhap reported.
- A hydrogen bomb can achieve thousands of kilotons of explosive yield – massively more powerful than some 10 to 15 kilotons that North Korea’s last nuclear test in September was estimated to have produced, similar to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
- Pictures released by North Koran agency had shown show Kim inspecting a silver-coloured, hourglass-shaped warhead in the visit accompanied by nuclear scientists. (With inputs from Reuters/AFP)