World Bulletin / News Desk
North Korea is thought to have conducted a fifth ever nuclear test Friday morning, according to South Korea’s military after detecting a magnitude 5.3 earthquake close to the reclusive state’s known test site.
Having confirmed the artificial tremor at around 09:30 a.m., the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated that North Korea had carried out its “biggest-ever test given the yield of the North's nuclear test that reached 10 kilotons” – almost double what Pyongyang claimed was a hydrogen bomb test in January, which drew strengthened United Nations sanctions in March.
South Korea and the United States swiftly agreed to use “all means available” in response as their respective leaders Park Geun-hye and Barack Obama spoke over the phone.
Park’s office revealed that Washington reaffirmed the availability of its nuclear umbrella if needed – the U.S. also has nearly 30,000 troops stationed in the South.
The South Korean president vowed to seek “much stronger sanctions” even than the widely hailed punitive measures agreed earlier this year.
North Korea is barred under numerous U.N. resolutions from developing nuclear and ballistic missile technology.
But the dictator Kim Jong-un this week demanded more “miraculous” nuclear achievements as he oversaw a triple ballistic missile test, while Friday marked the 68th anniversary of the establishment of North Korea.
Earlier this year, Kim cemented Pyongyang’s dual policy of pursuing economic and nuclear development.
The North has steadily progressed since its first nuclear test in 2006, with concerns growing about its developing ability to both miniaturize warheads and launch missiles from submarines.
Monday’s ballistic missile launches were met with a U.N. Security Council statement of condemnation warning of “further significant measures” but North Korea has repeatedly ignored warnings – including from its closest ally China – and blamed the U.S. for regional tensions.
Analysts generally view Beijing’s influence as offering a degree of protection from any UNSC punishment that could cause the collapse of Pyongyang’s regime.
Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2016, 08:17