North Korea’s government reported that they successfully detonated a miniaturized hydrogen bomb test Wednesday morning at a known nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, in northeastern North Korea.
A man-made earthquake of 5.1 on the Richter scale was discovered Wednesday morning near the testing center at Punggye-ri, according to the U.N. organization.
North Korea’s state television reported that the test was “self-defense against the U.S. having numerous and humongous nuclear weapons” and claimed the test “worked perfectly.”
If this claim is true from Pyongyang’s leaders, it would represent the fourth nuclear test, and the first using a hydrogen bomb which is more intense and powerful than an atomic bomb such as the one dropped on Hirohima, Japan during World War II.
Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst with Rand Corp. who worked with the Defense Department and is an expert on North Korea told BBC T.V. that he doesn’t believe that the bomb test worked very well and doubted that it was a hydrogen bomb that was even tested on Wednesday.
“The last nuclear test was 4.9 on the Richter Scale. This is 5.1. This is a logarithmic scale so the .2 difference means this test is only 1.5 times more powerful than the last test” Bennett said.
“The last test wasn’t a very convincing test of a fission weapon…. it worked but it wasn’t up to the grade of even the U.S. Hiroshima bomb, it wasn’t that big. This weapon was probably the size of the U.S. Hiroshima bomb but that was not a hydrogen bomb. That did not involve that technology. It was a fission weapon” Bennett explained.
“So Kim Jong-un is either lying, his country is either lying in saying they did a hydrogen test when they didn’t….. they just used a little bit more efficient fission weapon or the hydrogen part of the test really didn’t work very well or the fission part didn’t work very well because they didn’t get near the bang. The bang they should have gotten would have been ten times greater than what they are claiming” Bennett said.
A senior U.S. administration official told CNN it could take days to obtain the scientific data to determine whether the test at Punggye-ri was a successful test.
The U.N. Security Council will meet on Wednesday morning to discuss the new developments in North Korea.
The U.N. Security Council adopted four major resolutions since 2006 that impose and strengthen sanctions on North Korea for continuing to develop its nuclear weapons program and call on Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program “in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner” and refrain from ballistic missile tests.
All four resolutions were passed unanimously by the Security Council under Chapter VII, Article 14 of the United Nations Chapter.
In February 2007 international negotiators reached an agreement with North Korea to shut down its nuclear program in exchange for humanitarian aid.
But in 2009 talks broke down after North Korea withdrew from the talks following widespread international condemnation for attempting to launch a satellite in April 2009.