Upping tensions in the Korean peninsula, North Korea has claimed that it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. This is the fourth time it has detonated a nuclear device. The regime in Pyongyang detonated a hydrogen device for the first time at 10 a.m local time, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. The explosion was initially detected as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake by the US geological survey.
North Korea carried out the test “safely” and “perfectly,” according to KCNA. It described the detonation as an act of “self- defence” from its enemies. The regime “has confidently risen to the ranks of nuclear powers with hydrogen bombs by perfectly succeeding in the historic test of a hydrogen bomb,” the report stated. This is the second test since Kim Jong Un became supreme leader four years ago and began consolidating power through provocative actions against South Korea. Mr Kim has rejected US and China’s efforts to restart disarmament talks.
North Korea has expanded the country’s nuclear arsenal that Mr Kim claims is the best defence against a US invasion. The latest detonation elevates the regime’s nuclear programme toward the top of the global diplomatic agenda. Various reports suggest that Mr Kim could possibly be seeking to use the tensions to demand economic and political concessions from South Korea and the US.
In a message last week Mr Kim had pledged to work to improve ties with the government in Seoul. “A fourth nuclear test would allow for miniaturization and diversification of nuclear weapons so was an essential step for North Korea,” said Ahn Chan Il, who heads the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul. “North Korea may be thinking it can open up for reforms only when it’s recognized as a nuclear power, ” Mr Ahn added.
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