Early Friday morning, the 68th anniversary of its founding, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test, successfully detonating a nuke so powerful that it registered a 5.3-on the Richter scale. It was an explosion more powerful than that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima according to Reuters.
North Korea also claims it has perfected the technology to launch the warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
In response to the test, South Korean president Park Geun-hye said Kim Jon Un’s pursuit of his nuclear program is “maniacal recklessness,” and she denounced it as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. For its part, the Security council has announced an emergency meeting in the wake of this event.
President Obama is en route back home from Asia and stated that there would be “serious consequences” for any violations on the part of North Korea. Aboard Air Force One, press secretary Josh Earnest said President Obama spoke by phone to South Korean and Japanese leaders and assured them that the United States has an “unbreakable” commitment to “the security of our allies in Asia and around the world.”
North Korea’s state-run media made an announcement after the detonation.
“The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable (North Korea) to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power with a firm hold on the production of various fissile materials and technology for their use. This has definitely put on a higher level (the North’s) technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.”
Even North Korea’s friends in China are displeased. “We strongly urge [North Korea] to honor its commitment to denuclearisation, comply with relevant UN security council resolutions,” said Chinese officials, and added that Kim Jong Un should “take action to stop the situation from deteriorating.”
To the region the threat is all too real, and the full consequences of this morning’s test have yet to be decided. We will update you if and when updates are available.