North Korea just tested what is potentially the strongest nuclear warhead they’ve had since 2006. This the fifth test of its kind. It shows that North Korea is now capable of producing nuclear weapons at will.
South Korean authorities are on edge. They claim the test was a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution.
Around 9 a.m. local time, South Korean authorities detected seismic activity. The epicenter of the shock wave was located in Punggye-ri, in Kilju County. This is the same location four other nuclear tests occurred.
According to Kim Nam-wook, from the Meteorological Administration of South Korea, the bomb had a force of 10 kilotons. For reference, the bomb that landed on Hiroshima was 15 kilotons.
South Korean officials must still determine whether or not the test was successful. So far, the indirect evidence all point in this direction. Authorities must still look at their seismic readings, and determine where they came from. If the location of the seismic activities matches a known underground testing facility, then officials can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was in fact a nuclear test.
US authorities plan to send WC-135 Constant Phoenix Aircraft to take air samples, and test for radiation. Japan has already sent four of their jets to do the same.
During the past few weeks, satellites captured images of activity near the nuclear test site. Mining carts came and went from the site, and workers erected a canopy.
North Korea Now Has Nuclear Capabilities
At the beginning of the year, North Korean authorities claimed they had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. Hydrogen bombs is much more powerful than plutonium ones, the type North Korea had been using before the test.
Back in January, North Korean state news agency officials claimed the country will not be using these weapons unless it’s territory will under threat.
The UN had taken punitive measures to punish North Korea for their transgression.
Since then, North Korean authorities claim they have successfully miniaturized the warheads and have also tested out ballistic missiles.
These new tests seem to confirm that North Korea does indeed possess nuclear capabilities. In January, authorities were unsure if they indeed managed to successfully produce a nuclear weapon. In spite of the fact that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Um was quite boastful about the test’s success, authorities outside the country could not verify his claims. Their readings were inconsistent with North Korean claims.
Since North Korea has largely ignored the UN’s attempts to stop their development of nuclear weapons, not much can be done. Authorities are unsure what to do next. It is clear that Kim Jong-Un will not be deterred by UN resolutions.
The day of the test coincides with North Korea’s national day. The test also comes immediately after president Barack Obama left Asia, after the summits that took place in China and Laos respectively.
The director of Ploughshare Funds, a group that focuses on nuclear disarmament, believes that the reason why North Korea continues its nuclear program is that the international community is not taking the matter seriously. He believes negotiations with North Korean officials are impossible, and can only make matters worse.
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