North Korea said it conducted a sixth and significantly larger nuclear test Sunday, stepping up pressure on President Donald Trump in what is shaping up to be his biggest foreign policy crisis.
EDITOR’S NOTE: North Korea is a nuclear power today because the capabilities for those weapons of global destruction were given to him by former Democrat President Bill Clinton. Today’s detonation of a massive hydrogen nuclear bomb by North Korea makes it clear that the only thing that will stop them is military force. Sanctions accomplish nothing. President Trump, at some point, must call for military action to curb Kim Jong-Un’s appetite for destruction.
In a televised statement, North Korea described the underground explosion, which triggered a large earthquake, as a “perfect success in the test of a hydrogen bomb for an ICBM.” Pyongyang said “the creditability of the operation of the nuclear warhead is fully guaranteed.”
The test came just hours after leader Kim Jong Un showed off what he described as a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The explosion at the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri in North Korea’s mountainous northeast triggered an initial magnitude-6.3 earthquake, followed by a magnitude-4.1 temblor that was possibly caused by a structural collapse, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
While it was unclear what set off the second quake, satellite imagery has captured evidence of tunneling activity at the nuclear test site in recent months. Any structural collapse might have been related to that.
According to the logarithmic scale used to measure earthquakes, the initial magnitude-6.3 tremor was 10 times bigger than the one triggered by the North’s previous nuclear test in September 2016, which the USGS said had a magnitude of 5.3.
The Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul put the magnitude of Sunday’s initial earthquake at 5.7
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization said seismic signals were picked up by 35 monitoring stations, suggesting that the size of the explosion was much larger than last time, when signals were picked up by 26 stations.
The latest nuclear test was estimated to have a yield of as high as 100 kilotons—about 10 times the power of the North’s previous test and roughly five times that of the atomic bomb that the U.S. dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, according to Kim Young-woo, a South Korean lawmaker who is chairman of the legislature’s defense committee and received a briefing from military authorities.
A spokesman for the defense ministry declined to comment.
South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said after a 90-minute emergency meeting of the National Security Council that Seoul would consider the possible deployment of what he described as the “most powerful strategic assets that the U.S. possesses,” without elaborating, according to a statement from the presidential Blue House.
The phrase “strategic assets” typically refers to stealth bombers, aircraft carriers or possibly nuclear weapons. The U.S. withdrew the last of its nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991.
Mr. Chung, who also spoke by phone with Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his counterpart at the White House, said that Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, had called for the “strongest punitive measures” against Pyongyang. That includes diplomatic measures and a new United Nations Security Council resolution to “completely isolate North Korea.”
In Sunday morning tweets, Mr. Trump said North Korea’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.” He added: “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.” He also added: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”
While North Korea has made steady advances in both its nuclear and missile programs over the course of decades, Mr. Kim has greatly accelerated the pace of testing as the isolated country nears the ability to deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to the continental U.S.
Just this year, it has conducted a string of successful missile tests that have extended the proven range of its arsenal and introduced new capabilities that allow Pyongyang to fire missiles more quickly and with less warning. In July, it test-fired two ICBMs that experts say they believe are capable of reaching many parts of the U.S. mainland. source