North Korea announced, on Sunday, that they have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb designed to be mounted on its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), producing a greater yield than any of its previous nuclear tests.
The announcement came hours after a large quake that appeared to be man-made was detected near the North’s known nuclear test site, indicating that the reclusive country had conducted its sixth nuclear test since 2006.
The hydrogen bomb test ordered by leader Kim Jong-un was a “perfect success” and was a “meaningful” step in completing the country’s nuclear weapons programme, according to state television.
The tremor struck within a kilometre of the site of a magnitude-5.3 “nuclear explosion” from September last year, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
South Korea said this most recent test appeared to be several times stronger than its previous test, estimating the nuclear blast yield was between 50 to 60 kilotons, or five to six times stronger than the North Korea’s fifth test a year ago.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s office reiterated the need for sanctions on North Korea in the wake of the test.
“The reports are deeply concerning and only serve to emphasise the importance of using sanctions to compel North Korea to abandon its illegal programs and reinforce our determination in working with our allies and partners to deter Pyongyang from threatening its neighbours,” a statement read.
Witnesses in the Chinese city of Yanji, on the border with North Korea, said they felt a tremor that lasted roughly 10 seconds, followed by an aftershock.