North Korea tests hydrogen bomb

January 6, 2016 9:00 pm

 Celebrations in as a broadcaster announces the “successful” test of a hydrogen bomb. Photo / AP

New Zealand has added its voice to the chorus of condemnation over North Korea’s claimed test of a thermonuclear weapon.
The
secretive totalitarian state announced it had carried out its first
underground test of a hydrogen bomb earlier today. It was the country’s
fourth nuclear test since 2006.
New Zealand duty minister Sam Lotu-Iiga said the Government strongly condemned the North Korean test.
“New Zealand views North Korea’s actions as highly provocative and irresponsible,” he said.
“The
test would run contrary to the recent efforts at dialogue on the Korean
peninsula and flies in the face of the international community’s calls
for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapon programmes and return to
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“This action also flouts UN
Security Council resolutions which have demanded that North Korea not
conduct any further nuclear tests.

“The New Zealand Government strongly urges North Korea to
cease its provocative behaviour and commit to not developing, testing or
possessing nuclear weapons.”
An emergency UN Security Council meeting is expected to take place early tomorrow morning (NZT).
“New
Zealand will work with other Security Council members to make sure
there is a strong response to this latest provocation,” Mr Lotu-Iiga
said.
• South Korea, China, and Japan to hold emergency meetings.
• Experts cast doubt over the weapon used.
• Fourth nuclear test in North Korea since 2006.
• Shinzo Abe condemns test.

CNN
reports that Pyongyang says they are defending themselves against the
United States and demanding North Korean sovereignty be respected.
The
reader who made the announcement on state television said “the
republic’s first hydrogen bomb test has been successfully performed at
10:00 am on January 6, 2016, based on the strategic determination of the
Workers’ Party.”
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 U.N. 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.
This tweet shows the waveforms for the test as compared to the previous in 2013.

South Korean and Japanese officials have hastily convened emergency meetings.
Japanese
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the North Korean announcement of a
hydrogen bomb test is a threat to his nation’s safety.
Abe told reporters: “We absolutely cannot allow this, and condemn it strongly.”
He called it a violation of the U.N. Security Council agreements that is against the global efforts toward nuclear disarmament.
Abe
says he will take “strong action,” work with other nations, the U.S.,
South Korea, China and Russia, as well as through the U.N.
South
Korean officials detected an “artificial earthquake” near North Korea’s
main nuclear test site today, a strong indication that nuclear-armed
Pyongyang had conducted its fourth atomic test.
The US Geological Survey rated the magnitude of the seismic activity at 5.1 on its website.
An
official from the Korea Meteorological Administration, South Korea’s
weather agency, said it believed the earthquake was caused artificially
based on their analysis of the seismic waves and that it originated 49km
(30 miles) 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.
South Korean government officials couldn’t immediately confirm whether a nuclear blast or natural earthquake had taken place.
North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February 2013.
Another
test would further North Korea’s international isolation by prompting a
push for new, tougher sanctions at the United Nations and worsening
Pyongyang’s already bad ties with Washington and its neighbours.
Pyongyang is thought to have a handful of crude nuclear weapons.
The
United States and its allies worry about North Korean nuclear tests
because each new blast brings the country closer to perfecting its
nuclear arsenal.
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 US-South Korean annual military
drills it considers invasion preparation.

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