North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test on Thursday night was accompanied by an announcement that they now now have the ability to mount a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile. The ten megaton explosion, their fifth since 2006, was recorded as a 5.3 magnitude seismic event by monitors in the US, Japan, China and Europe. The nuclear test coincided with the 68th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
The North Korean claim of being able to launch a nuclear attack seems accurate since they successfully conducted a test on a medium-range ballistic missile on Monday.
“We’ve improved our ability to produce standardized and miniaturized nuclear warheads so we can produce as many as we want,” announced DKNA, North Korean national television. “This is our response to hostile powers, including the US. We sent out a message that if the enemies attack us, we can counterattack. The measures to protect our dignity and our right to exist from the US threat will continue.”
North Korea says capable of mounting nuclear weapon on ballistic missile, in statement confirming fifth test. pic.twitter.com/dvZuIz9A1L
— James Pearson (@pearswick) September 9, 2016
This test follows apparently ineffective UN Security Council sanctions after North Korea’s last test in January, which was half as strong as Thursday’s explosion. South Korean President Park Geun-hye called North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un‘s regime “fanatically reckless”, noting the test was in clear violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution.
“The only thing that Kim Jong Un regime can gain from the nuclear tests is stronger sanctions from the international community and its isolation. Such provocation will eventually hasten its path to self-destruction,” she said in a statement.
U.S. President Barack Obama, aboard Air Force One on his way home from Laos, said the test would be met with “serious consequences”, though he did not go into detail about what those consequences might be. The President is conducting talks with Park and with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the White House said.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest made a statement on Friday concerning the test.
“The president indicated he would continue to consult our allies and partners in the days ahead to ensure provocative actions from North Korea are met with serious consequences.”