North Korea conducts biggest ever nuclear test
South Korean authorities say they believe North Korea has conducted a fifth nuclear test — its biggest to date — following the detection of an “artificial earthquake.”
South Korea’s meteorological agency said the quake, detected by quake monitors around the world, including in the US and Europe, was detected near North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
The agency said the magnitude 5.3 earthquake was most likely caused by a nuclear test.
“The 10-kiloton blast was nearly twice the fourth nuclear test and slightly less than the Hiroshima bombing, which was measured about 15 kilotons,” said Kim Nam-Wook, of South Korea’s meteorological agency said.
A South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman told reporters, “We believe that it was a nuclear test. We are trying to figure out whether it was successful.”
China’s Earthquake Networks Center has also said that a quake was detected in North Korea and that was due to a suspected explosion.
The US Geological Survey, too, has confirmed the quake and the explosion.
Earlier on Thursday, North Korea threatened to continue strengthening its nuclear force in reaction to a United Nations Security Council’s recent statement condemning the country’s latest missile tests.
In January, North Korea said it had detonated a hydrogen bomb with success, its fourth nuclear test, and vowed to build up its nuclear program as “deterrence” against potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.
The UN and the West have imposed a series of sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile activities.