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North Korea’s steady steps toward nuclear weaponry

Days later on Wednesday 6th January, North Korea announced that it carried out a “successful” hydrogen bomb test, a claim that massively raises the stakes over the hermit state’s banned nuclear programme.

Analysts have mixed views about whether the US policy toward Pyongyang has been effective and whether additional USA action is needed against North Korea. It put pressure on China to rein in neighboring North Korea.

He said that would involve getting South Korea, Japan, the US and the European Union “on the same page” in enforcing existing U.N. Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang.

And taking a tougher military stance against Pyongyang means unpalatable risks. “Proportionate response.” He said it would be going “too far” to say that Russian Federation supports more sanctions against North Korea.

Still, sorting the matter out is likely to take some time, and whatever sort of test it was, the fact that North Korea did not notify any country in advance is raising further eyebrows, as their three previous tests had all come with advanced warning.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke by phone Wednesday to his South Korean counterpart Han Min-Koo, and they agreed that a North Korean nuclear test would be an “unacceptable and irresponsible provocation”, according to Carter’s press secretary, Peter Cook.

The council said it would begin work immediately on a new sanctions resolution in light of “the gravity of this violation”.

The explosion drew criticism, including from China and Russian Federation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing “firmly opposes” Pyongyang’s purported test and is monitoring the environment on its border with North Korea near the test site. 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.

Though there has been skepticism as to the authenticity of the extraordinary claim, Professor Joe Siracusa, expert in nuclear weapons and politics at RMIT University told Tony Jones that the test was a deadly development.

Experts and diplomats agree that sanctions have a limited effect and are only one tool in the broader Global effort to help North Korea strip away its pariah status.

While the Kim government boasts of its military might to project strength globally, it also plays up the need to defend itself from external threats as a way to maintain control domestically. Japan, South Korea, and the United States also have airborne noble gas detectors thought to be even more sensitive than the CTBTO detectors. It said Kim had made up his mind last month to conduct the hydrogen bomb test, and had signed a final order Sunday. The latest test occurred in the same geographical location, with the same geological profile, as earlier tests. “The test signals North Korea’s determination to expand its nuclear capability”.

North Koreans watch a news broadcast on a video screen outside Pyongyang Railway Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016.

In the past, North Korea has tested fission weapons, which break large atoms like plutonium, into smaller atoms, creating considerable energy.

“We can surmise that he’s trying to bolster his legitimacy as North Korea’s leader”, Fifield said. “If they throw that arrow, there will be confusion”, he stated.

STATEMENT: Statement of the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Ultimately, the world will probably never know the real motives behind the test. This much is clear – North Korea under Kim Jong-un has grown to be more provocative and unpredictable than under his father Kim Jong-il.

Yet North Korea has not been a top priority for Obama, despite his willingness to engage with adversaries and the bold steps his administration has taken with other world powers to arrest Iran’s nuclear program.

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