N.Korea confirms conducting nuclear test
North Korea said Friday it conducted a “higher level” nuclear warhead test explosion, which it trumpeted as finally allowing it to build “at will” an array of stronger, smaller and lighter nuclear weapons. It is Pyongyang’s fifth atomic test and the second in eight months.
South Korea’s president called the detonation, which Seoul estimated had produced the North’s biggest-ever explosive yield, an act of “fanatic recklessness.”
The North’s boast of a technologically game-changing nuclear test defies both tough international sanctions and lonstanding diplomatic pressure to curb its nuclear ambitions. It will raise serious worries in many world capitals that Pyongyang has moved another step closer to its goal of a nuclear-armed missile that could one day strike the U.S. mainland
Earlier. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Seoul believes North Korea has conducted its fifth nuclear test explosion. The agency’s report cited an unidentified government official. South Korea’s Defense Ministry couldn’t immediately confirm the report.
Monitors earlier Friday reported an earthquake near North Korea’s northeastern nuclear test site, a strong indication of a nuclear test.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that “artificial seismic waves” from a quake measuring 5.0 were detected near the Punggye—ri test site, and officials were analyzing whether it was a nuclear test.
Seismic activity produced by a suspected North Korean nuclear test is larger than an earthquake triggered by a nuclear test in the same area in January, the head of world monitoring agency CTBTO told Reuters.
Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, said the agency was processing unusual seismic activity in the Korean peninsula from its 25 stations monitoring the region.
“It's a larger signal than last time,” Zerbo told Reuters, referring to the earthquake triggered by North Korea's January 2016 nuclear test.
North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test earlier this year, part of its push for a nuclear—armed missile that could one day reach the U.S. mainland.
China's environment ministry has begun emergency radiation monitoring along border regions in northeastern China after North Korea carried out a suspected nuclear test, state television said on its official micro blog on Friday.