North Korea tests hydrogen bomb

North Korea said it conducted a powerful hydrogen bomb test Wednesday, a defiant and surprising move that, if confirmed, would be a huge jump in Pyongyang's quest to improve its still-limited nuclear arsenal. The 5.1 seismic event was detected along the country's northeast coast shortly before the announcement.

A North Korean television anchor said a test of a "miniaturized" hydrogen bomb had been a "perfect success" that elevated the country's "nuclear might to the next level." State media later crowed that its "H-bomb of justice" lets it stand firm against U.S. aggression.

North Korea's previous nuclear test was in early 2013.

Confusion in the west

Washington and nuclear experts have been skeptical about past North Korean claims about its H-bombs, which are much more powerful and much more difficult to make, than atomic bombs.

Whatever the type of the test, North Korea's fourth nuclear explosion will likely push Pyongyang's scientists and engineers closer to their goal of building a bomb small enough to place on a missile that can reach the U.S. mainland.

South Korea put its military on alert as its top nuclear envoy began consultations with the United States and Japan.


While many countries are worried about the nuclear program of North Korea, and western experts also warned about possible ties with Iran, Pyongyang affirms its own right to nuclear development. North Korea is not part of any agreement that limits nuclear capabilities.


This test will bring a new cycle of confrontation between North Korea and Washington led South Korea. The White House will use this situation for the next round of militarization of the region. China as a close ally of North Korea is not interested in a larger military western presence near its own borders and can also act as a mediator for possible negotiations. Whatever the results are, North Korea will continue developing its own nuclear arsenal.