North Korea announced it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. Reports quote state media as saying that tests were conducted when a perceived threat from the U.S. H-bomb was identified as more powerful than other nuclear weapons.
Earlier reports tell of an earthquake that took place in North Korea. However, suspicions arose that it was an artificial or man-made earthquake when the U.S. Geological Survey identified the epicenter of the quake near North Korea’s nuclear facility. According to the agency, the epicenter of the quake was detected 21 km WNW of Sungjibaegam, 37 km of Hau-ri, 44km of Kilju, 54km of Hoemul-li and 376 km NE of Pyongyang.
H-bombs harness energy created by fusing hydrogen atoms together while other nuclear weapons tear atoms apart. An explosion of a hydrogen bomb makes an extremely hot environment at its center. Because of this awfully high temperature, everything within the vicinity is vaporized into gas. A shock wave ensues thereafter. Trembles created by the shock wave can be mistaken as earthquakes, especially if the hydrogen bomb exploded underground.
North Korea confirmed that it tested a hydrogen bomb, CNN reports, citing a televised statement made by North Korean officials. This became the fourth time the country has tested nuclear weapons. “If there’s no invasion on our sovereignty we will not use nuclear weapon. This H-bomb test brings us to a higher level of nuclear power,” the state news agency said as quoted by CNN. In the days that led up to the H-bomb testing, BBC reports that the state media said North Korea “deserved to hold nuclear weapons to counter nuclear threats by the U.S.”
If indeed it was a hydrogen bomb that North Korea tested, the country may now demand to be recognized as one of the world’s nuclear powers. “A fourth nuclear test would allow for miniaturization and diversification of nuclear weapons so was an essential step for North Korea. North Korea may be thinking it can open up for reforms only when it’s recognized as a nuclear power,” Ahn Chan Il, head of the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul, told Bloomberg.
Officials need days in order to verify North Korea’s announcement of a hydrogen bomb test, a senior U.S. official told CNN. South Korea also announced it could not immediately verify the claim but its officials called for an emergency meeting. Japanese officials were also looking into the matter.