North Korea claims to have detonated first hydrogen bomb

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( – North Korea announced Wednesday that it has successfully conducted a test of a miniaturized hydrogen device, after the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 5.1 magnitude “quake” within miles of the site where the Stalinist regime has carried out three previous nuclear weapons tests.

Seoul’s Yonhap news agency said South Korean President Park Geun-hye had called an urgent National Security Council meeting to discuss the development.

“We’ve now become a nuclear state which also holds a hydrogen bomb,” Yonhap said North Korea’s state television declared in a “special” announcement.

It said the test had been carried out at 10 AM Pyongyang time. (8.30 PM eastern U.S. time).

Earlier, South Korean and Japanese officials said they suspected the seismic event was a nuclear test.

The USGS reported the quake at 8:30 PM eastern U.S. time Tuesday, 20 kilometers east-north-east of the town of Sungjibaegam. That’s roughly the location of North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

When Pyongyang carried out its third and most recent nuclear test, on February 12, 2013, the USGS’s report of that incident identified the location as 24 kms east-north-east of Sungjibaegam.

On that occasion the USGC initially reported a 5.1 magnitude quake, but reclassified it as an “underground nuclear explosion,” following then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice’s confirmation of a “highly provocative nuclear test.

North Korea carried out its first two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

In its recently-released annual survey evaluating conflicts around the world based on their likelihood of occurring or worsening in 2016, and their impact on U.S. national interests, the Council on Foreign Relations listed 11 “tier one” priority contingencies.

One of the 11 was “a severe crisis with or in North Korea caused by nuclear or ballistic missile weapons testing, a military provocation, or internal political instability.”

Written by Patrick Goodenough