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North Korea claims successful hydrogen bomb test

In what North Korean state TV displayed as a handwritten note, leader Kim Jong-un said: “Let the world look up to the strong, self-reliant nuclear-armed state”.

North Korea announced on Wednesday that it had successfully carried out its first hydrogen bomb test, a development that, if confirmed, would marking a stunning step forward in its nuclear development.

“Now, the government should closely cooperate with the worldwide community to make sure that North Korea pays the corresponding price for the nuclear test“, Park said in a National Security Council meeting.

The US Geological Survey said it had measured an quake with a magnitude of 5.1 – bigger than the three previous bombs North Korea tested in 2013, 2009 and 2006.

The White House said it could not confirm North Korea’s claims, but added the United States would respond appropriately to provocations and defend its allies. It ensures that North Korea will be a key topic during the USA presidential campaign.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the North Korean announcement of a hydrogen bomb test is a threat to his nation’s safety.

But, said Bruce Bennett, North Korea’s claims ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

The government statement said that Seoul strongly denounces the DPRK’s fourth nuclear test in clear violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and in defiance of the worldwide society’s repeated warnings.

Beijing was not aware of Wednesday’s test in advance, Hua said, adding that China would “make our assessment” of Pyongyang’s claim it was a hydrogen bomb.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivers his New Year’s speech on January 1.

Notably, the prior atomic tests in North Korea resulted in seismic activity of a similar force as Wednesday’s explosion, rather than a more powerful tremor that might be associated with a hydrogen payload.

“This action also flouts UN Security Council resolutions which have demanded that North Korea not conduct any further nuclear tests“. Washington stations more than 28,000 troops in South Korea as a buttress against any North Korean aggression.

North Korea’s last nuclear test in February 2013 was of the same magnitude.

QUOTEWORTHY: “I didn’t expect 2016 to be anything other than a roller-coaster, but we’re really starting off the roller-coaster really early“, said Michael Every, head of Asia-Pacific financial market research at Rabobank.

Within 48 hours, North Korea’s glamorous girl group, the Moranbong Band, abruptly packed their bags and headed home, just hours before a high-profile concert in Beijing.

“The test is not only a grave provocation to our national security but also a threat to our future… and a strong challenge to worldwide peace and stability”, she said, calling for strong sanctions on Pyongyang. Nuclear-tipped missiles could then be used as deterrents, and diplomatic bargaining chips, against its enemies – and especially against the United States, which Pyongyang has long pushed to withdraw its troops from the region and to sign a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of worldwide relations at Renmin University of China, said the test left China no choice but to support further United Nations sanctions towards North Korea.

The six-party process, involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russian Federation, has been in limbo since 2007 and Pyongyang’s decision to move ahead with a fourth test has nearly certainly hammered the final nail in its coffin.

“There has been speculation that North Korea would first test its boosted fission weapon rather than going directly to a hydrogen bomb test”, Mr Seong told AFP.

Reports in South Korea at the time claimed Pyongyang had shifted a missile “with considerable range” to its east coast – potentially putting Hawaii and the West Coast of the USA within range – as well as Japan and South Korea.

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