Sept. 2 (UPI) — North Korea announced Sunday it successfully tested a hydrogen nuclear bomb that can be loaded onto a new intercontinental ballistic missile.
It was the sixth underground bomb tested since 2006, North Korea’s state-run TV broadcaster said.
The U.S Geological Survey said a 6.3 magnitude earthquake was detected at 12:36 p.m. Sunday local time, near North Korea’s known nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, in the county’s northeast region. It had a depth of 14.3 miles.
The “artificial quake” was 9.8 times as powerful as the the last test in September 2016, South Korea’s state weather agency said. The 5.3-magnitude earthquake then was about as powerful as the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, that was 15,000 tons of TNT.
The earthquake was felt in northern China in Yanji, near the North Korean border, according to local media.
China’s Earthquake Administration said it had detected a second tremor, just after the first, of 4.6 magnitude which it termed as “a collapse.”
“If North Korea did indeed conduct a nuclear test, we absolutely cannot tolerate and must protest firmly. We will convene a National Security council meeting to gather and analyze the information,” Abe said in a live television broadcast before North Korea’s announcement.
North Korea’s fourth test was in January 2016 when it claimed to have used a hydrogen bomb. Other countries doubted the claim for lack of evidence. Experts said North Korea may have tested a “boosted” atomic bomb.
On Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly inspected a “super explosive” hydrogen bomb for its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency, the Kim regime completed its most recent advance in atomic weaponry Saturday. The agency described the warhead as a “thermonuclear hydrogen bomb” with an adjustable explosive capacity of hundreds of kilotons.
The United States and other nations have not confirmed the veracity of North Korea’s claim.
“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack according to strategic goals,” KCNA reported in English.
In hydrogen bombs, fusion — the merging of atoms — is used to unleash energy, whereas atomic bombs use nuclear fission, or the splitting of atoms.
North Korea launched two intercontinental missiles on July 4 and 28. In the latest test, North Korea said it launched its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile than can reach most of the United States.
U.S. President Donald Trump has warned he would unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea if it continued to threaten the United States with nuclear missiles. North Korea has threatened to launch a missile near Guam, a U.S. territory.
On Tuesday, North Korea launched a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan, prompting an angry response from the United States and regional allies.
President Donald Trump said “all options are on the table” in response to the regime’s “threatening and destabilizing actions.”