North Korean nuclear programme a grave concern - United Nations watchdog

Casey Dawson
September 5, 2017

North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb which can be loaded into the country's new intercontinental ballistic missile, the official Korean Central News Agency claimed Sunday.

The test blast came after propaganda pictures were published of Kim examining what was said to be a nuclear warhead being fitted on to the nose of an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea has repeatedly claimed perfection of hydrogen bomb technology, producing weapons that employ a more powerful fusion reaction, as opposed to the usual fission reaction of North Korea's more primitive nuclear weapons.

In a series of tweets, Trump said the latest test that came earlier in the day proved the North continues to be unsafe to the US, threatens and embarrasses China, and that South Korea's efforts to engage with Pyongyang are fruitless.

The explosion caused a 6.3-magnitude natural disaster and North Korean state media confirmed that a bomb with "unprecedented power" had been successfully tested on the orders of leader Kim Jong-un.

On Twitter, President Trump called North Korea "a rogue nation which has become a great threat".

South Korea says it flew around 2,700 kilometres at a maximum altitude of about 550 kilometres.

Seoul's national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said there had been talks with Washington about deploying U.S. strategic military assets to the Korean peninsula.

Making them small enough to fit on a missile is a challenging task, and one that North Korea claims to have achieved.

The United States and other nations have not confirmed the veracity of North Korea's claim.

A long line of USA presidents has failed to check North Korea's persistent pursuit of missiles and nuclear weapons.

"They want all parties to calm down, but it's clear the North is not interested in that, and it's not entirely [certain] if the United States is interested in calming the situation either".

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The USGS said a second, 4.1-magnitude seismic event occurred 22 kilometers northeast of Sungjibaegam.

North Korea is thought to have a growing arsenal of nuclear bombs and has spent decades trying to flawless a multistage, long-range missile to eventually carry smaller versions of those bombs.

"Japanese Prime Minister said the threat against his country is now "more grave and imminent"; South Korean President Moon Jae-in called it an absurd strategic mistake".

It flew a Hwasong-12 over northern Japan last week, the first such overflight by a missile capable of carrying nukes, in a launch Kim described as a "meaningful prelude" to containing Guam, the home of major United States military facilities, and more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's office reiterated the need for sanctions on North Korea in the wake of the test.

The North had "further upgraded its technical performance at a higher ultra-modern level on the basis of precious successes made in the first H-bomb test", KCNA said Sunday, adding that Kim "set forth tasks to be fulfilled in the research into nukes".

Can North Korea deliver a nuclear warhead?

North Korea triggered a new escalation of tensions in July, when it carried out two successful tests of an ICBM, the Hwasong-14, which apparently brought much of the United States mainland within range.

"We strongly urge (the) North Korea side to face up to the firm will of the global 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.

The only way to answer that question is with yet more testing, ensuring that the missile itself, the nuclear device, and the re-entry vehicle all work correctly, and are still working by the time they get to their target.

North Korea has stated it is, at least in part, responding to Washington's decision to hold the exercises, which ended last week.

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