- Launches sixth nuclear test
Kim Jong Un, North Korea maximum ruler defied US warnings on further nuclear test as his country launched another hydrogen bomb test, its sixth nuclear test in recent times on Sunday.
China, North Korea’s only real ally and patron, said its neighbor “disregarded universal opposition of the international community” by conducting the test.”
“We strongly urge North Korea side to face up to the firm will of the international community on the denuclearization of the peninsula, abide by relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, stop taking wrong actions that exacerbate the situation and are not in its own interest, and return to the track of resolving the issue through dialogue,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Japan confirmed that North Korea conducted a nuclear test, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said. “It is absolutely unacceptable if North Korea did force another nuclear test, and we must protest strongly,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In called for the “strongest punishment” against North Korea, including new United Nations sanctions. He called for “all diplomatic measures including UNSC (Security Council) sanctions resolutions to completely isolate North Korea”, an official said after an emergency National Security Council meeting.
Sunday’s test comes almost one year after Pyongyang’s fifth nuclear test last September, which triggered a 5.3-magnitude seismological event. That took place on September 9, the country’s Foundation Day holiday. North Korea claimed it set off a thermonuclear weapon during that test, but experts said the data showed it was more likely a boosted fission weapon.
This is the first nuclear test since US President Donald Trump took office. Trump’s administration is pursuing what it calls a strategy of “peaceful pressure” to get North Korea to bring its nuclear weapons program to the negotiating table.
But critics worry that the US administration’s insistence on denuclearization and some of the President’s harsh rhetoric have done more harm than good.
“The test is dramatic, but not necessarily a game-changer. Thermonuclear weapons are more destructive, but their use can be deterred with the same actions as smaller warheads,” said Adam Mount, a North Korea expert and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
North Korea sees its nuclear weapons program as crucial to deterring any US-led attempts at invasion, making it unlikely that they will negotiate it away, analysts say.
Recall that tensions between North Korea and the international community flared again last week after Pyongyang flew a missile over Japan. The United States and its allies responded by sending fighter jets and bombers over the Korean Peninsula in a so-called “show of force” operation.