A shallow 6.3-magnitude earthquake reported in North Korea appears to suggest that the rogue nation carried out its sixth nuclear test, hours after Pyongyang announced that developed a missile-ready hydrogen bomb that possesses “great destructive power.”
The U.S. Geological Survey reported a surface “explosion” at around 12:30 pm local time, while Chinese seismologists also recorded a second tremor in the same location that clocked in at a lesser 4.6-magnitude.
Recent tremors have also been linked to nuclear tests, suggesting that Pyongyang has continued developing its nuclear program in the face of strong censure from U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who called on the United Nations to ramp up pressure against Kim Jong Un’s regime.
On Saturday night, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency announced that the country was now in possession of “a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power, which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals.”
Kim was quoted as claiming that his technological advancements enable “the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons, as many as it wants.”
The “homemade” H-bomb was personally inspected by Kim during a visit to North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Institute, where he oversaw as the payload was loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Despite a barrage of United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions, North Korea has continued its quest to create a nuclear device small enough to fit on a long-range ballistic missile and durable enough to survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The country carried out two nuclear tests last year alone, followed in July by a slew of ICBM tests that represented a stunning leap forward in North Korea’s martial prowess.
Last month, Kim threatened to launch missiles at the US Pacific territory of Guam as a show of force, to which Trump responded that he would retaliate with “fire and fury.”