Is North Korea’s Hydrogen Bomb Test A Bluff?

Is North Korea’s Hydrogen Bomb Test A Bluff?
North Korea — Pyongyang (stephan) /Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The White House remained skeptic about the North Korea hydrogen bomb test. Experts were also expressing the same view, saying that North Korea may just be bluffing and had actually tested the conventional nuclear weapon type. Nevertheless, whether an H-bomb or the conventional one, world powers condemn it as provocative in nature and a breach of international security.


White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the initial analysis conducted by operatives is not consistent with North Korean claims of successful h-bomb test. “There is nothing that’s occurred in the last 24 hours that has caused the United States government to change our assessment of North Korea’s technical and military capabilities,” he said during a press briefing.

Experts who have spoken with the NBC News told of the same. The seismic data retrieved in the night of the alleged Noth Korea hydrogen bomb test would have reflected a much greater force yield. Experts had instead retrieved data indicating that the test in question used nuclear bomb identical to tests conducted by North Korea in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and author of “Solving the North Korean Nuclear Puzzle,” told NBC that the test may have just been a bluff. North Korea may have “tested a fission implosion device similar to the ones it previously detonated,” he said.

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Joseph Cirincione, president of the global security firm Ploughshares Fund, noted that the test only yielded 6-7 kiloton. A hydrogen bomb test, even a failed one, would have a yield of 10, 20, 50 kilotons of force. Nevertheless, whether it was an H-bomb or not, North Korea is still testing nuclear weapons, Cirincione emphasized. North Korea is the only country that has tested since 1998, he said, warning that “they will learn something even from a failed test.”

Indeed, the White House condemned it as provocative and a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. The government and Japan agreed to impose additional sanctions against North Korea for violating their international obligations. Is the North Korea hydrogen bomb test a bluff?