North Korea has tested a hydrogen bomb that it says can fit onto a missile drawing worldwide condemnation.
The test, which was carried out today, generated seismic events 10 times stronger than any previous test. It was carried out at the Punggye-Ri test site in the North Korea.
Just before the test, North Korean state media issued images of dictator Kim Jong-un next to what appears to be a missile ready thermonuclear device although it is understood that it is likely to be a model given the “Supreme Leaders” proximity to the device.
This test could give the clearest indications yet of North Korean capability thanks to what appears to be a collapsed tunnel at the test site which could leak radiation. Previous tests have been contained within the test site.
As a result, China is understood to have started monitoring for radiation on its border with North Korea. China, North Korea’s only ally, has condemned the test and called upon Pyongyang to stop its “wrong” actions and in a statement Chinas Foreign Ministry said: “We strongly urge North Korea side to face up to the firm will of the international community on the denuclearization of the peninsula, abide by relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, stop taking wrong actions that exacerbate the situation and are not in its own interest, and return to the track of resolving the issue through dialogue”
North Korea said in a statement on state television that test, ordered by leader Kim Jong-un, was a “perfect success”. It added that it was a “meaningful” step in completing the country’s nuclear weapons programmes.
It is understood that North Korea is intending to put thermonuclear weapons onto its latest long-range Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) the Hwasong-14 (or KN-20 under its US identifier). THe Hwasong-14 is understood to have a range of around 4100 miles. The range of this type puts the US West Coast and possibly even East Coast cities such as New York within its targetable area. It has also displayed two other untested ICBM’s The Rodong-C (KN-08) and KN-14, believed to be a 2nd generation of the KN-08, with estimated ranges of around 7000 and 6000 miles.
US President Donald Trump condemned the test in a series of tweets saying: “North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” adding that Pyongyang “has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”
“South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”
In a further move, he said that the US was considering halting dealings with any nation that traded with North Korea, a move which is unlikely as it would include China.
President Trump has refused to rule out military action and is meeting with military leaders at the White House later today.