Old playbook behind North Korea's new nuclear test

Randolph Lopez
September 5, 2017

In hydrogen bombs, fusion - the merging of atoms - is used to unleash energy, whereas atomic bombs use nuclear fission, or the splitting of atoms. The Kim regime has developed its weapons and nuclear program despite the measures that have crippled the economy and exacerbated periods of mass starvation.

State TV announced the test's success hours after Seoul and Tokyo detected unusual seismic activity at North Korea's nuclear test site.

KCNA said the power of the bomb was adjustable from tens to hundreds of kilotons.

Designing and building an effective intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), one that cannot only fly the required range but also have any likelihood of hitting its target, is incredibly hard in itself.

Previous tremors in the reclusive country have been caused by nuclear tests, Reuters noted.

That test had a 10-kiloton yield - less than the 15-kiloton U.S. device which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

The North carried out its first nuclear test in 2006, and successive blasts are believed to have been aimed at refining designs and reliability as well as increasing yield.

"For months North Korea refrained from conducting a nuclear test and from launching missiles over Japan" said David Wright, the co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program. "Not all of that attention has been helpful", said Adam Mount, a North Korea expert and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Sept 1999: Declares moratorium on long-range missile tests amid improving ties with US.

And South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff had also "presumed" that North Korea did indeed conduct a sixth nuclear test, before its neighbor to the north made the announcement.

The non-profit also said "it looked like a model in a room for models".

July 12, 2000: Fifth round of US-North Korean missile talks in Kuala Lumpur ends without agreement after North demands $1 billion a year in return for halting missile exports.

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But Mr Davis said all significant changes would be done through separate primary legislation, with the Henry VIII powers used for technical measures.

"Any technological tests can be seen as playing poker", Cha said.

Earlier on Sunday, photos released by the North Korean government showed Kim talking with his lieutenants as he observed a device that was apparently the thermonuclear weapon destined for an ICBM.

The photos released earlier Sunday showed Kim talking with his lieutenants as he observed a silver, peanut-shaped device that the state-run media said was a thermonuclear weapon created to be mounted on the North's "Hwasong-14" ICBM.

Pyongyang's favourite newsreader - a woman in her 70s - returned to the airwaves Sunday to declare its proud possession of a hydrogen bomb.

The deployment will be carried out "at the most propitious moment to maximise their diplomatic impact", Yoo told AFP.

Following the release of the images, Melissa Hanham, of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in California, said it was unknown if "this thing is full of styrofoam".

The office says U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster spoke with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, for 20 minutes in an emergency phone call about an hour after the detonation.

The combined drill, carried out by the South Korean army and air force and meant to simulate a strike on North Korea's nuclear test site, involved surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and F-15K fighter jets hitting targets off the east coast of South Korea, according to a statement form the country's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On North Korean television, a newsreader called the test a "complete success" and said the "two-stage thermonuclear weapon" had "unprecedented" strength. The new leader favours engagement as well as sanctions to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table.

If the North's playbook for the latest test is familiar, there is a wild card in the form of the new occupant of the White House.

Sunday's developments follow successive launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, and the firing of a missile over Japan last week into the Pacific Ocean.

Trump had no immediate response, though he sent a tweet thanking relief workers after Hurricane Harvey devastated states in the southern US.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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