North Korea says it carried out H-bomb test after 'artificial quake' detected

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - North Korea said Wednesday it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test, a defiant and surprising move that, if confirmed, would put Pyongyang a big step closer toward improving its still-limited nuclear arsenal.

See Full Article

A television anchor read a typically propaganda-heavy statement on state TV that said North Korea had tested a "miniaturized" hydrogen bomb, elevating the country's "nuclear might to the next level" and providing it with a weapon to defend against the United States and its other enemies.

The statement said the test was a "perfect success."

The test, if confirmed by outside experts, will lead to a strong push for new, tougher sanctions at the United Nations and further worsen already abysmal relations between Pyongyang and its neighbours.

North Korean nuclear tests worry Washington and others because each new blast is seen as pushing North Korea's scientists and engineers closer to their goal of an arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States.

While a hydrogen bomb is much more powerful than an atomic bomb, it is also much harder to make. In a hydrogen bomb, radiation from a nuclear fission explosion sets off a fusion reaction responsible for a powerful blast and radioactivity.

North Korea is thought to have a handful of rudimentary nuclear bombs and has spent decades trying to perfect a multistage, long-range missile to eventually carry smaller versions of those bombs. After several failures, it put its first satellite into space with a long-range rocket launched in December 2012.

Experts say that ballistic missiles and rockets in satellite launches share similar bodies, engines and other technology. The UN called the 2012 launch a banned test of ballistic missile technology.

Some analysts say the North hasn't likely achieved the technology needed to manufacture a miniaturized warhead that could fit on a long-range missile capable of hitting the U.S. But there is a growing debate on just how far the North has advanced in its secretive nuclear and missile programs.

In the first indication of a possible test, the U.S. Geological Survey measured an earthquake Wednesday morning with a magnitude of 5.1. An official from the Korea Metrological Administration, South Korea's weather agency, said the agency believed the earthquake was caused artificially based on an analysis of the seismic waves and because it originated 49 kilometres north of Kilju, the northeastern area where North Korea's main nuclear test site is located. The country conducted all three previous atomic detonations there.

The test is a surprise, both in its purported type and its timing.

North Korea hadn't conducted an atomic explosion since early 2013, and leader Kim Jong Un did not mention the country's nuclear weapons in his New Year's speech. Outside analysts speculated that Kim was worried about deteriorating ties with China, the North's last major ally, which has shown signs of greater frustration at provocations and a possible willingness to allow strong UN sanctions.

The size of Wednesday's quake is bigger than seismic activity reported in previous atomic bomb tests. Yonhap news agency reported that quake monitoring agencies detected magnitudes of seismic activity of 3.7 in 2006; 4.5 in 2009 and 4.9 in 2013.

After the North's third atomic test, in February 2013, Pyongyang launched a campaign of bellicose rhetoric that included threats to launch a nuclear attack on the United States and Seoul. North Korea claimed in 2013 that it had scrapped the 1953 armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War. Pyongyang has also restarted a plutonium nuclear reactor shuttered after a 2007 nuclear deal that later fell apart.

Since the elevation of young leader Kim Jong Un in 2011, North Korea has ramped up angry rhetoric against the leaders of allies Washington and Seoul and the U.S.-South Korean annual military drills it considers invasion preparation.

-----

AP writer Hyung-jin Kim contributed to this story from Seoul.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Palestinian kills three members of Israeli family in West Bank stabbing [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    JERUSALEM — Israel’s military fortified its troops in the West Bank and placed forces on high alert Saturday, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family and some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years erupted over tensions at the Holy Land’s most contested shrine. Source
  • Crane collapse kills 7, injures 2 in southern Chinese city

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- A crane leaned and collapsed on a construction site of a major infrastructure company in southern China, killing seven people and injuring two, authorities said Sunday. The collapse occurred late Saturday at the construction site for the southern headquarters of the state-owned China Communications Construction Co. Source
  • Alberta Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose vote 95% in favour of merger

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Wildrose Party approved unifying with Progressive Conservatives in an historic vote Saturday. Just over ninety-five per cent of Wildrose members voted yes for unity, well above the 75 per cent majority it needed to give the merger a go-ahead. Source
  • B.C. wildfire evacuation lifted for hundreds as federal government promises funds

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The federal government is promising more funding to support residents affected by raging wildfires in British Columbia as some of the thousands of people displaced prepare to return home. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government will supply $600 per household evacuated due to wildfires and $300 for their eventual return — funds that will be managed and distributed by the Canadian Red Cross. Source
  • Wildrose, Progressive Conservative parties to merge with 95% approval

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Wildrose Party approved unifying with Progressive Conservatives in an historic vote Saturday. Just over ninety-five per cent of Wildrose members voted yes for unity, well above the 75 per cent majority it needed to give the merger a go-ahead. Source
  • Princess Diana's last conversation with her sons recounted in documentary

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- It was a typical phone call between two boys playing and their mother, who was on vacation in France. It was brief -- the boys wanted to get back to playing with their cousins, not spend time on the phone chatting. Source
  • O.J. Simpson's brand out of juice

    World News Toronto Sun
    Can O.J. have a fourth quarter comeback? Not without a game ball. O.J. isn’t the first celebrity to grace his mug on a mugshot, and many have made their way back to the top — Hugh Grant, Keifer Sutherland, Britney Spears and Robert Downey Jr. Source
  • Wildrose votes yes to unity with 95% of the vote

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Wildrose Party approved unifying with Progressive Conservatives in an historic vote Saturday. Just over ninety-five per cent of Wildrose members voted yes for unity, well above the 75 per cent majority it needed to give the merger a go-ahead. Source
  • What’s next for O.J. Simpson? [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    At times, during O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing it seemed as though the battered old jock was moving his body like he was evading bruising linebackers. The big man on campus. Bobbing. Weaving. Jocular. Locker room O.J. O.J. Source
  • 9/11 victim's wife disgusted by $10.5M Khadr deal [Photos]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The widow of a Toronto businessman killed in the World Trade Centre on 9/11 says its sickening that the Liberal government has allowed terrorist Omar Khadr to play the victim card and collect $10.5 million. Maureen Basnicki’s husband, Ken Basnicki, was in New York City on business when he was killed in the North Tower on Sept. Source