Japan: North Korea conducts sixth nuclear test

Kristopher Drake
September 3, 2017

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, the Japanese government said on Sunday, after an quake was detected near the site where the reclusive nation has previously detonated nuclear explosions.

It did not say whether the conversation came before or after the North's claim about the loading of a hydrogen bomb into a new ICBM.

The USGS reported the tremor as a 6.3 magnitude, while China's natural disaster administration also said it detected a 6.3 magnitude quake in northeastern North Korea, calling it a "suspected explosion", Reuters reported.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests past year, the most recent in September, amid worldwide alarm and condemnation led by the US.

Abe said he "would not tolerate" another nuclear test.

North Korea's nuclear and missile programme has made huge strides since Mr Kim rose to power following his father's death in late 2011.

"It follows two such tests last year and more than a dozen missile tests this year".

The reclusive regime reportedly tested a staged thermonuclear device that can be mounted on the Hwasong-14 ICBM tested twice in July.

The test comes during already tense relations with the worldwide community, including the US. A key question is how far North Korea has gotten in efforts to consistently shrink down nuclear warheads so they can fit on long-range missiles. It urged North Korea to "stop taking erroneous actions that deteriorate the situation".

Initial reports from the US Geological Survey put the tremor at 5.6 magnitude with a depth of 10km but this was later upgraded to 6.3 magnitude at 0km.

Meanwhile, Japan's foreign minister told members of the media that North Korea had conducted its sixth nuclear test and the first since Trump took office.

While some experts are sceptical of the hydrogen claim, the latest announcement from North Korea has heightened political tensions, coming just days after it launched a ballistic missile over Japan and sparking global condemnation.

Japan concluded the tremors detected in North Korea were a nuclear explosion, marking the sixth atomic test by Pyongyang since 2006.

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone on Saturday to discuss responses to North Korea's provocations, and Trump "provided his conceptual approval of planned purchases by South Korea of billions of dollars in American military equipment", according to a White House statement.

If the current magnitude holds, it's possible that the weapon tested Sunday was a thermonuclear device, but it's impossible to say if it was the peanut-shaped object shown in the images released by North Korean state media, says Hanham.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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