North Korea claims to have conducted a successful hydrogen bomb test.
The surprise announcement was made on North Korean State TV shortly after the detection of a magnitude 5.1 “earthquake” near its known nuclear test site.
It came shortly after China raised questions about what it called a “suspected explosion” and South Korea called an “artificial earthquake.”
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake was recorded at a depth of 10km, 376 km NE of Pyonyang around 5:30 tonight.
Condemnations have been pouring in from around the globe.
White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price released a statement calling any potential test a violation of international law.
“While we cannot confirm these claims at this time, we condemn any violation of UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments.”
We are aware of seismic activity on the Korean Peninsula & have seen claims of a nuclear test. Statement: pic.twitter.com/WvyFkpJcZo
— WH National Security (@NSCPress) January 6, 2016
Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of neighbouring Japan, was also quick to speak out, saying:
“The nuclear test that was carried out by North Korea is a serious threat to the safety of our nation and we absolutely cannot tolerate this.”
Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, also released a statement condemning “in the strongest possible terms the provocative and dangerous behaviour of the North Korean regime.”
My statement condemning North Korea’s actions & claim to have detonated a nuclear bomb https://t.co/z3gDPdx1db
— Julie Bishop (@JulieBishopMP) January 6, 2016
And British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also spoke out.
If North Korean H-bomb test reports are true, it is a grave breach of #UNSC resolutions & a provocation which I condemn without reservation
— Philip Hammond (@PHammondMP) January 6, 2016
The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow morning to address the issue.
North Korea withdrew from the international nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty in 2003.
Since then it claims to have tested three nuclear devices, the most recent in 2013.
If verified, this would be the first hydrogen bomb test by the country. Hydrogen bombs (or thermonuclear weapons) which rely on a hydrogen fusion reaction are far more powerful than a traditional fission weapon.
The South Korean government has speculated that the North has been trying to acquire such a weapon.
More to come.